The Science of Sustainability

Tag: bacteria

The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

There’s more to fungi than just mushrooms. Buried in the soil live large fiber networks of fungi. And these fibrous microbes might be able to help clean up polluted soil.

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Redesigning Life

Redesigning Life

All living things pretty much use the same language to read their genes. That is about to change.

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It Came From Mono Lake

It Came From Mono Lake

The world is buzzing about the bacteria from Mono Lake, a strain of bacteria that can substitute the element arsenic for phosphorus into the backbone of its DNA.

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Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Expands Definition of Life

A Bay Area biochemist has found a new strain of bacteria living in the briny shores of Mono Lake that can not only eat arsenic, a substance highly toxic to most organisms, but thrive on it.

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Producer's Notes: The Plastic Breakdown

Producer's Notes: The Plastic Breakdown

Life was easier back before I produced this piece. Now everywhere I look and everything I touch seems to be made of plastic.

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Anti-bacterial Soap: is the Medicine Worse Than the Cure?

Anti-bacterial Soap: is the Medicine Worse Than the Cure?

Even if you are not handling reptiles daily like we are, you can take action to reduce exposure to toxic anti-microbials.

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Producer's Notes: Decoding Synthetic Biology

Producer's Notes: Decoding Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology portends big changes in our lives by ushering in a dizzying array of applications in everything from medicine to biofuels, environmental remediation to agriculture.

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Swine Flu – A Virus or a Bacteria?

Swine Flu – A Virus or a Bacteria?

Swine Flu has been blanketing the news as of late. On April 29th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first US fatality occurring in Texas. The CDC has determined that this swine influenza A(H1N1) virus is contagious and spreading from human to human. Yet at this time, they do not know how easily the virus spreads between people. At our museum, we have taken this very seriously and staff has been asked to stay home if symptoms arise.

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Reporter's Notes: Medicine from the Ocean Floor

Reporter's Notes: Medicine from the Ocean Floor

Scientists gather samples on the ocean floor. Credit: Roger Linington.There's nothing new about looking to nature to cure disease – we've been doing it for thousands of years, with good results. (Two recent examples: The active ingredient in aspirin was first identified in the bark of the willow tree. And we have the Pacific yew […]

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A Long and Winding DNA

A Long and Winding DNA

How long would the DNA from every living thing on Earth stretch? Could we make it to the next star? The next galaxy? The end of the Universe?

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Traveling DNA

Traveling DNA

A billion years ago or so, mitochondria were free living bacteria. Then our ancestors hijacked them and now they do our bidding. And mitochondria aren't the only cells that got hijacked.

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Reporter's Notes: Looking for Mars Life on Planet Earth

Reporter's Notes: Looking for Mars Life on Planet Earth

When I hear about searching for alien life, it's hard not to think about all those science fiction movies with little green men and Earth-destroying spacecraft. But it's an idea that's far from science fiction for scientists at NASA Ames.

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Reporter's Notes: Food Safety

Reporter's Notes: Food Safety

We put this story on the calendar back in September, before melamine-tainted milk started making headlines in China. We'd been planning to focus on criticism of FDA's handling of imported fresh produce, and had to recast the piece when it became clear that the concerns around food safety were much broader.

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Have sewage, will travel

Have sewage, will travel

Unless our sewage happens to end up in the Bay and in the headlines, most of us probably never give a second thought to where our wastewater is headed each time we run the tap or flush the toilet. To learn more about the travels of sewage, I took a tour of the Las Gallinas […]

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SF's Hometown Bacteria

SF's Hometown Bacteria

If Chicago has deep dish pizza and Boston has cream pie, San Francisco has sourdough bread. And just like the pizza and pie, San Francisco sourdough just isn't the same outside its hometown. But that's because only San Francisco is home to a certain bacterium that bears its name– Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. Of course bread uses […]

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