This month, Journal of Applied Microbiology publishes a ground-breaking study demonstrating that bacteria which are physically separated can transmit information through the air. It is well documented that bacteria can exchange messages by releasing substances into a surrounding liquid culture medium, but this new study is the first to demonstrate signalling between physically separated bacterial cells.
Professor Alan Parsons and Dr Richard Heal of QinetiQ ltd, have shown that physically separated colonies of bacteria can transmit signals conferring resistance to commonly used antibiotics. The discovery is thought to have direct application against the growing problem of the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics - in particular in preventing the growth of biofilms, which often cause infection associated with surgical implants.
Professor Parsons and Dr Heal conducted their experiments using a Petri dish divided into two compartments, connected by a five-millimetre air gap between the top of the wall and the lid. In one compartment they placed drops of the bacterium Escherichia coli, together with the antibiotics. When the other compartment was empty, the bacteria were killed. However, if thriving colonies of E.coli were placed in the other compartment, the first colony of bacteria not only survived, but also multiplied. Yet, if the gap between the compartments was sealed, the bacteria in the first compartment died. Professor Parsons and Dr Heal concluded that the bacteria must have been responding to some kind of airborne signal from the adjacent culture probably in the form of a volatile chemical.
Anna Van Opstal | alphagalileo
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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