1. All for one and one for all! ⚔ Some #bacteria can resist #antibiotics by acting as if they were just one organism! 🦠
Antibiotic resistant bacteria are one of the major health threats of our times. Among the most dangerous ones, Pseudomonas aeruginosa stands out. These microbes are particularly dangerous for people enduring respiratory conditions such as pneumonia or cystic fibrosis and have already shown resistance to many antibiotics. This new study has found that bacterial communities can act as if they were only one individual when exposed to an antibiotic. Researchers examined the growth of P. aeruginosa and discovered that these bacteria send signals to the neighbour individuals to warn them about the presence of the antimicrobial substance and enable them to avoid it. Understanding how resistant microbes escape antibiotics is the first step to find out how to fight them! To the publication>

2. Biofuel factories with no CO2 emissions: engineered #bacteria may become a sustainable way to produce gas! 🦠♻
Climate change is an ongoing threat that has a visible impact on nature, and one of its causes is the accumulation of greenhouse gases. Substances such as the CO2 emitted by fossil fuel combustion are contributing to the temperature rise of our planet. Bacteria and synthetic biology may provide a solution for this environmental issue! Researchers have engineered Escherichia coli strains to live off CO2 instead of sugar as their carbon source. This way, these microbes uptake this gas from the atmosphere and convert it into biomass. As a further step, these bacteria could be modified to produce sustainable biofuels using CO2 as raw material. This strategy could tackle two urgent problems: global warming and shortage of fossil fuels! To the publication>

3. We finally know the winner of this year’s agar #art competition of @ASMicrobiology 🎖 It is this dazzling portrait of a Koi fish with a lotus flower 🐠  🧫🎨: Arwa Hadid, Oakland University (USA)
The American Society of Microbiology has announced the winners of their 5th annual Agar Art Contest. This contest merges science with art to raise awareness about both the beauty and the relevance of microorganisms. The results are breathtaking! This year, the winner in the Professional category is titled “Seemingly Simple Elegance”. It pictures a portrait of a koi fish with a lotus flower, but don’t be deceived by its apparent simplicity: inside this living piece of art there are nine different types of microorganisms living together! We hope to keep seeing astonishing agar artworks such as this one in the future! To the publication>

4. The #bacteria living in our gut are vital for us to stay healthy 🦠 However, it looks like bats don’t rely so much in these bugs…  🦇👇
At this very moment, billions of microorganisms are thriving within your gut. These resident microbes play a key role in our health, as they help to digest food among other benefits. This is the same for many animals, especially mammals: we all have these tiny microbes inside. As mammals and gut microbes rely on each other to survive, we have evolved together too, that’s the reason why closer species tend to have similar microbial species. Nevertheless, there is an exception for this: bats! Scientists have found that even closely related bat species have very different microbial species living in their guts. This may mean that gut bacteria aren’t as vital for these mammals than they are for the rest of them – including us. To the publication>

5.#Dengue is a disease that affects millions of people yearly 🏥 It is caused by a virus carried by a mosquito 🦟 #Bacteria could help stopping this bug from spreading the virus! 🦠👇
There are many infectious diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue  is particularly troublesome: last year, nearly 400 million people experienced this painful viral disease, and there isn’t a specific drug to treat it. The only way to try to reduce the impact of dengue is through trapping disease-carrier mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti, and killing them. This method has proved ineffective but now, researchers may have found a solution – and it involves bacteria. The species Wolbachia occurs naturally in many insects, but not in Aedes aegypti. Scientists are introducing these bacteria in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and they determined that the bacteria can block the mosquito from transmitting viruses. As the bacteria are passed down to the offspring, researchers are releasing mosquitoes with these bacteria to boost populations of this insect that can’t spread the disease. This strategy could reduce not only the dengue epidemic, but also to cut down other diseases’ spread by mosquitoes such as zika. To the publication>

6. Do you ever read about #synbio advances and feel that you are in over your head? 😓 No worries! 💪 Here you have a short explanation for the most common #biotech concepts! 📄👇
If you read the newspaper or turn on the TV for the news, it is likely that you won’t have to wait too long to listen about a new synthetic biology applications.However,, synbio news are often  riddled with technical terms that, while accurate, can be Greek to those that aren’t familiarised with the jargon. If this is the case, don’t panic! In this article you can find a clear definition  of some of the most common synbio terms, such as ‘enzyme’ but also a clear explanation of processes such as the obtention of a biotechnological patent. So, next time you listen about synbio on the news, you’ll be more than ready! To the publication>

7. #Synbio as the future of textile industry: microalgae to make high-performance fabric 🌱🧬
From sustainable fabrics that can be degraded by microorganisms to spider silk made by bacteria, synthetic biology is stirring up the textile industry. This technology has arrived to specialised clothes. Some companies are exploring the use of synbio techniques to obtain enhanced fabrics that are breathable, waterproof or windproof. A part of this research is based on a rather unexpected microorganism: microalgae. These ancient tiny beings are able to naturally produce oil. Using genetic engineering, synthetic biology can add new biochemical pathways to make these microorganisms produce different oils and valuable chemicals to provide fabrics with new properties. Maybe the clothes of the future will be 100% microalgae!  To the publication>

8. Happy holidays! 🎅 If you are thinking of a different Christmas tree, we have a suggestion! 💡 What about colourful lights made of #bacteria? 🦠👇
We wish you a Merry Christmas! Probably you are about to decorate the Christmas tree… can we make a suggestion? Let’s add some light with glowing bacteria! But for that, you will need a bacteria species that lives in the Antarctic ocean that have the ability to resist heavy metals such as cadmium or tellurite. To avoid the toxic effect of these elements, these Antarctic microbes use biochemical pathways that produce fluorescent nanoparticles. Besides making great Christmas lights, these sustainable particles may be applied to build photoreceptors or in molecular biology research.

9. These #bacteria have wonderful abilities! 🦠  But are both real? The power of ice or the power or fire? ❄🔥 Vote in our #Synbio test! 👇And the answer is… A! Some bacteria species such as Pseudomonas syringae can induce the formation of ice crystals close to the ice melting point thanks to special proteins anchored to their outer cell membrane. While the exact molecular mechanism for this event remains mostly unknown, ice producing bacteria play a key role in the environment, as they have an influence on the climatology. Moreover, these microbes are used to facilitate artificial snow production in winter sports areas. 

10. The Grinch hates Christmas time… let’s provide him with a bit of Christmas spirit using #bacteria! 🦠🎅 Show us your results! 🎨He’s green. He’s grumpy. And he hates Christmas! We are talking about the Grinch!  Even if he despises these holidays and everything that’s related with it, he is still one of the most iconic Christmas film characters. This is the reason why, for the last Agar Art of the year, we have decided to pay tribute to him the best way we know: picturing him using bacteria!