Of the estimated 10,000 to 100,000 microbial species that inhabit our planet, scientists can only coax a few thousand to grow in the laboratory. As a result, efforts to categorize the vast diversity of microbes are lagging far behind attempts to classify plants, animals and insects. Now a report published in the current issue of the journal Science suggests that some of these so-called uncultivable microorganisms might not be so out of reach after all.
Tammi Kaeberlein, Kim Lewis and Klava Epstein of Northeastern University succeeded in growing pure cultures of elusive beach-growing bacteria by recreating their shore environment in the lab. The scientists collected blocks of beach and separated the microorganisms that reside on the sandy surface into sealed chambers, which were then set atop the sediment blocks inside aquariums. Though chemicals and nutrients could enter the chambers, the bacteria remained trapped. The novel experimental set-up garnered a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of microorganisms that produced colonies as compared with results achieved in conventional petri dishes. Moreover, the team isolated two previously unknown microbes, dubbed MSC1 and MSC2, and is analyzing nine others.
MSC1 (see image) and MSC2 also provided clues as to why some microorganisms refuse to grow in a stark laboratory dish even when ample nutrients are provided. The researchers discovered that culturing MSC1 and MSC2 in the specially designed chambers was easy but the bacteria would only grow in a petri dish if both strains were present. Because bacteria can use chemicals known as pheromones to communicate, the authors conclude that "it seems possible that microorganisms require specific signals originating from their neighbors that indicate the presence of a familiar environment."
Sarah Graham | American Scientist
Cnidarians remotely control bacteria
21.09.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Immune cells may heal bleeding brain after strokes
21.09.2017 | NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
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!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
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21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
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21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine