New family of antibiotics discovered in soil offers hope

February 13, 2018 by  
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Antibiotic resistance threatens humanity even as superbugs are discovered in places like pig farms . But a recent discovery offers new hope. A Rockefeller University -led team of scientists found a new family of antibiotics in dirt, the BBC reported . The researchers hope the natural compounds could be used to fight infections that are difficult to treat. 12 scientists discovered malacidins, compounds which, based on tests, kill multiple bacterial diseases now resistant to most of our existing antibiotics. That includes the superbug MRSA . They utilized a gene sequencing technique to scrutinize over 1,000 soil samples that came from around America to find the new antibiotic family. The BBC said soil teems with millions of microorganisms that produce compounds that could be potentially therapeutic or serve as new antibiotics. Related: Antibiotic resistant bugs could kill 10 million people each year by 2050 Malacidins were present in many of the samples, suggesting it could be an important find. According to the BBC, the scientists gave rats MRSA and then tested malacidins; the compound eradicated the infection in skin wounds. They’re now working to boost the drug’s effectiveness so that perhaps it could be developed into a treatment for humans – but that could take a while. Rockefeller University scientist Sean Brady told the BBC, “It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic. It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.” Antibiotic Research UK professor Colin Garner, who was not part of the research team, said the find is good news but we really need antibiotics for gram-negative bacteria . These new compounds might tackle gram-positive infections like MRSA, but “our concern are the so called gram-negative bacteria which are difficult to treat and where resistance is on the increase.” The journal Nature Microbiology published the research online yesterday. Scientists from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School contributed. Via the BBC Images via Pixabay and Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

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Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years

February 13, 2018 by  
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Scientists are seeking to explore an underwater area previously covered by an Antarctic ice shelf for 120,000 years. Climate change is affecting every corner of the globe and while its challenges are well known, the dramatic changes also open up new opportunities for exploration. The recent breaking away of a trillion-ton iceberg the size of Delaware from Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf offers scientists a chance to gain a greater understanding of the polar aquatic ecosystem that dwells beneath the ice. Researchers are now in a race against time to study the 2,246 square-mile area before it begins to change. “The calving of [iceberg] A-68 [from the Larsen C Ice Shelf] provides us with a unique opportunity to study marine life as it responds to a dramatic environmental change,” said Kkatrin Linse of the British Antarctica Survey (BAS) in a statement. “It’s important we get there quickly before the undersea environment changes as sunlight enters the water and new species begin to colonize.” Two previous efforts to explore newly exposed Antarctic ecosystems in 1995 and 2002 yielded little in terms of studied life. However, both efforts took five to 12 years after an iceberg’s break before studying the area up close. By then, organisms had begun to occupy space in the newly open habitat. Related: Meteorologist warns collapse of two Antarctic glaciers could flood every coastal city on Earth Scientists are set to depart from the Falkland Islands on February 21, then spend three weeks aboard the BAS research vessel RRS James Clark Ross on which the team will gather and study biological samples from organisms, sediments, and water . During their study, the team may encounter such wild Antarctic creatures as the icefish, which creates natural antifreeze within its body to survive in frigid waters, or the bristled marine worm, described by Live Science as “ a Christmas ornament from hell. “ Via Live Science Images via NASA   (1)

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Scientists dash to explore Antarctic ecosystem hidden by ice for 120,000 years

Student discovers a way to destroy superbug bacteria without antibiotics

September 28, 2016 by  
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A 25-year-old student has discovered a way to destroy antibiotic-resistant bacteria without pummeling them with more antibiotics . Shu Lam successfully destroyed superbugs in lab tests using a star-shaped polymer that literally rips the cells to shreds. This breakthrough could signal a complete overhaul in how the medical community approaches these deadly bacteria . Currently, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA ), kill 700,000 people per year. Scientists are worried that number could skyrocket to 10 million by the year 2050 , so they’re searching for ways to successful intervene before more damage is done. University of Melbourne student Shu Lam believes she may have found a solution. Related: ‘Nightmare’ bacteria found in the U.S. resists all known antibiotics Her study , published in Nature Microbiology , details the mechanism of SNAPPs, or structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers . SNAPPs work by directly targeting, attacking, and destabilizing the cell membranes of superbugs. They are large enough that they do not affect healthy cells, which are affected by conventional approaches that “poison” the bacteria. So far, Lam has successfully tested SNAPPs on six different strains of superbugs in a laboratory setting, and one in live mice. In each experiment, the nasty bacteria were all killed and did not develop resistance to the polymers in future generations. The development is still in its early phases, yet Lam and her team believe they are onto something big. Via Science Alert Images via Wikipedia , Flickr

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Student discovers a way to destroy superbug bacteria without antibiotics

Mesmerizing Abyss Horizon table recreates the oceans dramatic depths

September 28, 2016 by  
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Unlike Duffy London’s previous iterations, the Abyss Horizon is circular rather than rectangular. This table, in addition to being a striking conversation starter, is made to order and handcrafted by local artisans and in-house craftsmen. The layers of cut glass create the illusion of a bottomless sinkhole in the center of a table. The light-colored wood that surfaces at the top mimic islands and landforms with sandy white beaches and aquamarine waters. Related: Amazing Abyss Table Layers Glass and Wood to Mimic the Depths of the Ocean Blue The Abyss Horizon Table is limited to 25 editions and can be made and delivered within 12 to 14 weeks. Price is available upon request. “‘I was looking into sheets of thick glass at my glass manufacturer’s factory, and noticed how the material darkened as they added more layers – the same way the sea does as it deepens,” said Christopher Duffy about his inspiration behind the Abyss tables. “I wanted to use this effect to replicate a real piece of the earth’s sea bed. Like a mythical power had lifted a perfect rectangle straight from the earth’s crust to use as his personal ornament.” The Abyss Horizon is available to view through the Sarah Myerscough Gallery . + Duffy London Images via Duffy London

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Mesmerizing Abyss Horizon table recreates the oceans dramatic depths

Stanford students take on dangerous superbugs

August 10, 2016 by  
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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or “ superbugs ,” are one of the biggest challenges of the medical community. They are popping up at faster rates as antibiotic use increases, causing serious alarm among professionals familiar with their power. A few undergraduate students from Stanford University believe they may be on to a revolutionary idea that could kill off some of the most dangerous superbugs out there. Last fall, students Zach Rosenthal, Christian Choe and Maria Filsinger Interrante entered a Stanford University competition to provide solutions for major healthcare problems. Their idea of developing a set of proteins to annihilate antibiotic-resistant bacteria won them a $10,000 grant to test their hypotheses. “As soon as I started to read literature about multidrug-resistant bacteria, I decided it was a huge need area and interestingly neglected by the pharmaceutical industry,” said now-graduated Filsinger Interrante. She says that a smaller market size, lower profitability, and seeming inevitability of drug resistance lowers manufacturers’ enthusiasm about producing new antibiotics . Related: Dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in food products for the first time The specifics of their project are being kept secret, yet Rosenthal explains the mechanism of their attack, “We target something that’s essential to bacterial survival.” Preliminary reports of their tests are successful and the team hopes to continue working toward finding the Achilles heel for Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii , two of the most drug-resistant and fatal superbugs existing today. Via NPR , Stanford News Images via Pexels, Stanford University

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Stanford students take on dangerous superbugs

Pig tales: An omnivore’s quest for sustainable meat

October 17, 2015 by  
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Unwinding the complex pork supply chain reveals an array of sustainability issues — including a dangerous addiction to antibiotics.

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Researchers find new way to beat antibiotic-resistant infections

January 2, 2015 by  
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Researchers have discovered a way to test bacteria for drug resistance more rapidly. It’s a potentially life-saving method that will enable doctors to find and attack bacterial infections quickly, instead of waiting for a day or more to find out to which drugs a patient might be resistant. More than 2 million people develop drug-resistant infections every year, according to Scientific American,  and 23,000 people die from those infections, due in part to an inability to diagnose and treat the infections quickly and effectively. The current method for testing bacteria for resistance is to “take a sample from the wound, blood, or urine” and expose it to a variety of drugs. It typically takes 16 to 20 hours to grow the bacteria and test it. Read the rest of Researchers find new way to beat antibiotic-resistant infections Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: antibiotic resistance , antibiotics , bacteria , bacteria diagnostic test , bacteria illness , bacteria resistance , CDC , Korean diagnostic test , seoul national university , single cell , single cell bacteria test , sunghoon kwon , superbugs , Tufts University

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FDA Finalizes Overdue Plans to Crack Down on Factory Farms’ Antibiotics Use

December 13, 2013 by  
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Photo via  Shutterstock The Food and Drug Administration finally approved two long-overdue proposals this Wednesday to curb farmers’ frequent use of antibiotics as a way to slow the rapid growth of antibiotic-resistant diseases. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control , at least 23,000 people a year are dying from drug-resistant superbugs. Though the announcement symbolizes a critical step forward, the FDA’s strategy depends on voluntary cooperation from the drug industry. Read the rest of FDA Finalizes Overdue Plans to Crack Down on Factory Farms’ Antibiotics Use Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: antibiotic-resistant diseases , antibiotics use , centers for disease control , drug industry , drug-resistant superbugs , factory farming , fda , Food Drug Administration , superbugs        

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Is It True That Farmers Feed Antibiotics To Livestock To Make Them Grow Faster?

May 26, 2011 by  
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“Up Close and Cattle” Image credit:Flickr, Alex E. Proimos I always thought the ‘it makes them grow faster’ reasoning for why they put antibiotics in animal feed was a myth and that the truth was more complex.

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Is It True That Farmers Feed Antibiotics To Livestock To Make Them Grow Faster?

Falling Crime Rates in Big Cities a Key to Sustainable Future

May 26, 2011 by  
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Photo credit: aurelien via Flickr /CC BY-SA US Crime Rates Hit Lowest Level in 40 Years We spill a lot of digital ink here on Treehugger insisting that dense, urban environments are crucial to the future of sustainable living. Lloyd has pointed out the numerous benefits to city living — it’s more efficient, less resource and energy intensive, and, since you’re walking more,

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