The microbial community or microbiome that inhabits the rhizosphere and endosphere - the niches immediately surrounding and inside a plant's root?facilitates the shuttling of nutrients and information into and out of the roots within the soil matrix. These underground microbial activities have not received as much attention as the effort to characterize the role of the microbial populations inside and on the surfaces of humans, but this is now changing owing to a recent publication.
It's relatively easy to collect massive amounts of data on microbes. But the files are so large that it takes days to simply transmit them to other researchers and months to analyze once they are received. Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new computational technique that relieves the logjam that these 'big data' issues create.
Beneath the surface of the earth, an influential community of microbes mingles with plant roots. In the first large-scale analysis of those communities, scientists have now catalogued and compared the hundreds of types of bacteria that associate with the roots of the model plant Arabidopsis under various conditions.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a three-year $999,531 grant to Virginia Tech to optimize the laboratory processes used to make custom DNA molecules with the tools and methods of industrial engineering.
Dodder vines are parasitic plants that suck water, nutrients and information from other plants as they spread over them. Plant biologists at the University of California, Davis, have now shown that they can make plants resistant to dodder by attacking the junctions where the parasite taps into the host.
Federal agencies have started taking steps to address the recommendations in a 2010 report from the presidential bioethics commission to improve the governance of synthetic biology research and development, though the government has not fully addressed any of the report recommendations, according to a scorecard tracking the efforts.
How a transport protein obtains its driving force from the energy storage molecule ATP, has been tracked dynamically by RUB researchers. Using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy, they measured the structural changes in the bacterial membrane protein MsbA and its interaction partner ATP.
Certain kinds of bacteria are adept at converting waste into useful energy. These microorganisms are presently being applied to the task, through an innovative technology known as a microbial fuel cell or MFC.