The plenary session is entitled Food, fluids, fingers, faeces and flies: food and waterborne pathogens and includes some fascinating presentations.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV), which can be fatal, was thought to be confined to China, India and developing countries but scientists in the Netherlands have found that people in European countries are contracting the virus from pork. It is one of few viruses that can be transmitted directly from the animal to humans through food. Doctors rarely test for HEV and it is estimated that diagnosis rates in Europe are only 13%.
And it’s not just pork that’s being studied. There has been a rise in year-round consumption of lettuce, which is coupled with a rise in the difficulty of keeping it pathogen-free. Although processing and packaging were suspected as sources of contamination, US scientists have shown that at least some cases of food poisoning are due to contamination prior to harvesting. Complex environmental factors make this very difficult to control.
Cutting-edge research will also be revealed in the session Anaerobe 2007: Changing perceptions and patterns of anaerobic infection. Hospital superbug C. difficile has a coat of armour that can self-assemble even when it’s taken off the bacterium. The protein coat has a regular shape and joins together itself. This could give scientists at Imperial College London a way of fighting the superbug, by identifying a glitch in the armour. It even has commercial applications in nanotechnology.
Anaerobes also have clinical applications. Solid tumours have areas of low oxygen, so anaerobic bacteria are ideal to deliver gene therapy to these areas. Clostridium can form oxygen resistant spores and grow when it enters a low oxygen environment, like a tumour. Scientists have shown that genetically engineered Clostridium can treat cancer successfully in mice.
Other presentations cover topics as diverse as ham preservation and why we don’t need salt, probiotics for pigs and bacterial pest control, tracking Yersinia and microbe-identifying microchips, novel insecticides and drug-producing sponge bacteria, hepatitis C vaccine research, bacteriophage therapy and the control of coastal pollution.
Individual press releases for all of the above presentations are available. Please contact SGM if you are interested in attending the meeting, or if you would like to speak to one of our experts.
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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