If dry bacteria spores of the genus Bacillus were boxers, commentators would say they punch above their weight.
When they dehydrate, the rod-shaped spores— dormant cells that help the microorganism survive tough environmental conditions and are naturally found in soil and vegetation—shrivel or curl like a leaf. Add some moisture and they straighten out again. Studies have shown that they can absorb water and expand with remarkable force. Now scientists say this phenomenon can be harnessed to use the microbes as a potential source of renewable energy or as muscles to make superstrong robots.
In research recently reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team detailed how they smeared spores on a flat piece of rubber and created a bacteria-powered generator.
A new method of creating 3-D images of living cells without disturbing them promises to open an unprecedented view into how they operate.
University of Illinois engineers say the technique, called white-light diffraction tomography, will let researchers watch cellular processes as they unfold, the effects of drugs and how stem cells change into specialized cells.
They are known as the window to the soul, each a different color, size and shape. But could your eyes also fight infections?
For years optometrists have been trying to figure out why the human eye is resistant to infection.
“What we know is people virtually never get corneal infections unless they’re a contact lens wearer or unless they have very severe injury to the cornea,” said Suzanne Fleiszig, an optometrist at the University of California, Berkeley.