Scientists from the UK’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey have shown that probiotics – the good bacteria taken by millions of people worldwide – can reduce the disease-causing Salmonella bacteria which infect people and pigs.
“Salmonella is responsible for thousands of food poisoning cases each year with many of the cases originating from infected pork products. Recently the European Union banned the use of antibiotics in animal feed. Antibiotics were being regularly used as growth promoters to make pigs put on weight and protect them from diseases”, says James Collins from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
“The EU ban is part of the effort to reduce the emergence of new antibiotic resistant bacteria, particularly as many disease-causing and antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA and clostridia are now so common”, says James Collins.
The scientists have also managed to advance the use of alternatives in animal testing by developing a technique based on NASA space technology, which allowed them to grow small pieces of pig gut in a 3-dimensional matrix which mimics the natural environment in a pig’s gut.
“The 3D model specifically allows us to test the potential health benefits of probiotics as viable alternatives to growth promoters in pigs”, says James Collins. “This model is an essential first step as an alternative to the use of animals in scientific research, and means that we did not need to do the work in live pigs”.
The work by the Surrey team will contribute to reducing the number of pigs carrying Salmonella, and so cut its general spread in the environment. This in turn is expected to reduce the number of Salmonella related food poisoning cases reported every year.
The scientists have not yet discovered exactly how the probiotics work, but they hope that their new model will uncover the mechanism behind the way robiotics reduce pathogens in the gut and confer other health benefits.
Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
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22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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