News tagged with microorganisms

Related topics: microbes , bacteria , proceedings of the national academy of sciences , bacterium , genes

Fresh milk keeps infections at bay

A study by researchers of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich shows that infants fed on fresh rather than UHT cow's milk are less prone to infection. The authors recommend the use of alternative processing methods ...

Oct 20, 2014
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Researchers uncover new knowledge about our intestines

Researchers from Technical University of Denmark Systems Biology have mapped 500 previously unknown microorganisms in human intestinal flora as well as 800 also unknown bacterial viruses (also called bacteriophages) ...

Jul 06, 2014
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From shape-shifting to therapy

(Medical Xpress)—The latest research into the intricate processes that let substances into and out of cells will help to lay the foundations for the next generation of therapies for major diseases.

Mar 12, 2013
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Possible link between bacterium, colon cancer found

For the first time, a specific microorganism has been found to be associated with human colorectal cancer. In two studies published online today in Genome Research, independent research teams have identified Fusobacterium in col ...

Oct 17, 2011
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Researcher creates neurons that light up as they fire

In a scientific first that potentially could shed new light on how signals travel in the brain, how learning alters neural pathways, and might lead to speedier drug development, scientists at Harvard have created genetically-altered ...

Nov 29, 2011
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New technique identifies first events in tumor development

A novel technique that enables scientists to measure and document tumor-inducing changes in DNA is providing new insight into the earliest events involved in the formation of leukemias, lymphomas and sarcomas, and could potentially ...

Sep 29, 2011
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Microorganism

A microorganism (from the Greek: μικρός, mikrós, "small" and ὀργανισμός, organismós, "organism"; also spelled micro organism or micro-organism) or microbe is an organism that is microscopic (usually too small to be seen by the naked human eye). The study of microorganisms is called microbiology, a subject that began with Anton van Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microorganisms in 1675, using a microscope of his own design.

Microorganisms are very diverse; they include bacteria, fungi, archaea, and protists; microscopic plants (called green algae); and animals such as plankton, the planarian and the amoeba. Some microbiologists also include viruses, but others consider these as non-living. Most microorganisms are unicellular (single-celled), but this is not universal, since some multicellular organisms are microscopic, while some unicellular protists and bacteria, like Thiomargarita namibiensis, are macroscopic and visible to the naked eye.

Microorganisms live in all parts of the biosphere where there is liquid water, including soil, hot springs, on the ocean floor, high in the atmosphere and deep inside rocks within the Earth's crust. Microorganisms are critical to nutrient recycling in ecosystems as they act as decomposers. As some microorganisms can fix nitrogen, they are a vital part of the nitrogen cycle, and recent studies indicate that airborne microbes may play a role in precipitation and weather.

Microbes are also exploited by people in biotechnology, both in traditional food and beverage preparation, and in modern technologies based on genetic engineering. However, pathogenic microbes are harmful, since they invade and grow within other organisms, causing diseases that kill millions of people, other animals, and plants.

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