In a paper published in Environmental Microbiology, Dr. Anna Gorbushina (Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany), Professor William Broughton (University of Geneva, Switzerand) and their colleagues analysed dust samples collected by Charles Darwin and others almost 200 years ago. Geo-chemical analyses showed that these samples contained wind-fractionated dust from West Africa and some travelled as far as the Caribbean. Their results clearly show that diverse microbes, including ascomycetes, and eubacteria can live for centuries and survive intercontinental travel.
“These findings push forward our understanding of planetary microbial ecology.” said Professor Broughton.
But could inter-continental spread of microbial hitch-hikers lead to the spread of contaminants or disease? “Obviously, intercontinental spread of micro-organisms has been with us for a very long time, so unless land-use patterns in the Western Sahara have changed recently, disasters like the demise of coral in the Caribbean, cannot be ascribed to the intercontinental travel of desert bugs” said Professor Broughton.
Davina Quarterman | alfa
Waste in the water – New purification techniques for healthier aquatic ecosystems
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Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
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Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
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Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
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