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
Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity
30.09.2016 | Aalto University
The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!
30.09.2016 | CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.
Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.
Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...
Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.
Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...
The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.
“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...
With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.
Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...
30.09.2016 | Event News
29.09.2016 | Event News
28.09.2016 | Event News
30.09.2016 | Materials Sciences
30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences
30.09.2016 | Life Sciences