bacteria   2964

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Trillions upon trillions of viruses fall from the sky each day
Scientists have surmised there is a stream of viruses circling the planet, above the planet’s weather systems but below the level of airline travel. ... Each day, they calculated, some 800 million viruses cascade onto every square meter of the planet.
Mostly thought of as infectious agents, viruses are much more than that. It’s hard to overstate the central role that viruses play in the world: They’re essential to everything from our immune system to our gut microbiome, to the ecosystems on land and sea, to climate regulation and the evolution of all species. Viruses contain a vast diverse array of unknown genes — and spread them to other species.
“Viruses modulate the function and evolution of all living things, But to what extent remains a mystery.

The New York Times | | 13 apr 2018
bacteria  biology  ecosystem  gaia  science  viruses  format-article  type-research 
7 days ago by tometaxu
The germs that love diet soda • NY Times
Moises Velasquez-Manoff:
<p>By one estimate, deaths linked to [the bacterium Clostridium difficile, aka C. diff] increased fivefold between 1999 and 2007.

One reason the bug has become more virulent is that it has evolved antibiotic resistance and is not as easily treatable. But some years ago, Robert Britton, a microbiologist at Baylor College of Medicine, discovered something else about C. diff: more virulent strains were outcompeting less virulent strains in the gut.

Dr. Britton and his colleagues wanted to know what gave these strains their edge, so they combed through over 200 sugars and amino acids present in the gut to see if these microbes better utilized some food source compared with others. The results of their investigation, <a href="">recently published in the journal Nature</a>, suggest a deceptively banal adaptation: two of the most problematic C. diff strains have a unique ability to utilize a sugar called trehalose.

Trehalose occurs naturally in mushrooms, yeasts and shellfish, among other things. It has historically been expensive to use, but in the late 1990s a new manufacturing process made the sugar cheap. That was good news for companies that manufactured prepackaged foods, because trehalose works great for stabilizing processed foods, keeping them moist on the shelf and improving texture. Since about 2001, we’ve added loads of it to everything from cookies to ground beef.

What Dr. Britton and his colleagues contend is that, in doing so, we’ve inadvertently cultivated the most toxic C. diff strains, driving what has become a scourge of hospitals.

As evidence, he points to the timing of recent C. diff epidemics. The virulent strains existed before 2000, but they didn’t cause as many outbreaks. Only after large quantities of trehalose entered the food supply did they become this deadly.</p>

To the European palate, American processed food tends to taste unbearable sweet. There's so much added sweetener. Which turns out to have knock-on effects.
sugar  Bacteria 
14 days ago by charlesarthur
'Nightmare bacteria' cases seen in 27 states, CDC reports
nightmarebacteria  bacteria  from twitter_favs
15 days ago by andriak

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