1. Shiny, resistant and made by #bacteria! 💎 These #AwesomeMicrobes can create pearl-like materials! Meet them here! 👇
Nacre is a material made by some molluscs that acts as the inner shell layer and coates the outer layer of pearls. Its toughness and stiffness makes nacre a very desirable material, but its obtention has been challenging and energy consuming. Now thanks to synthetic biology, researchers have managed to manufacture artificial nacre using bacteria! Among the potential applications of this material are medical supplies like artificial bones, the building of planes and even the coating of future houses in the moon! Sometimes the best materials are those which mimic nature! Read more >
2. Silence! Filming! 🎬 These #AwesomeMicrobes are in charge of this screening! 🔬 Researchers have stored a movie clip into their DNA!🔬The #AwesomeMicrobe of this month is an Escherichia coli bacterium that holds a movie clip in its genome! Researchers have translated the movie pixels into the DNA’s four letter code and put the sequence into the bacterium. Not only that, they managed to retrieve it with great accuracy!
3. Not just another brick in the wall 🏢 This biotech is using #AwesomeMicrobes to fill up cracks in concrete! 🔬 Meet them here 👇
Concrete is a very popular construction material, but it has some flaws. It is vulnerable to wear and tear and cracks may appear over time. Wouldn’t be awesome if these cracks repair themselves? This may be a reality thanks to bacteria! The biotech company Green Basilisk has developed a self-healing concrete that contains bacteria spores. As the skin scars over wounds, when water hits the cracks, the microbes start growing and creating limestone in the process, sealing them. Read more >
4.One small step for #bacteria, one giant leap for mankind! 🚀 These #AwesomeMicrobes may be in charge to make martian soils fertile! 🍇 Learn more here! 👇
Mankind may be close to set a foot in Mars! We daydream about living in the Red Planet, but what would we need to establish a sustainable presence in there? One of the first step would be to make Martian soils fertile, and a research group in Georgia is developing bacteria that can do this! They are collecting microbes from the most extreme environments in the country to bred strains able to live in Martian conditions and make its lifeless soils suitable for farming. Maybe the first Mars colonizers will be able to grow plants and even to make their own wine! Read more >
5. Greenhouse effect is a serious environmental threat 🏭 These #AwesomeMicrobes could save the day! 👩🚒 Meet the methane-eater #bacteria here! 👇
Greenhouse effect is one of the most urgent threats for humanity nowadays. Although it is less abundant than carbon dioxide, methane is one of the gases responsible for trapping the heat in the atmosphere, so there is a strong interest in removing it. Now researchers have found bacteria whose favourite meal is this gas! Not only did they discover it but also managed to cultivate it successfully. Bacteria could become soldiers fighting against climate change in the future! Read more here >
6. Oil spills are a serious environmental issue ⛽ The solution may be lying on the bottom of the sea 🌊 Meet the #bacteria that feed on oil 👇 Another threat for the environment, and also for humankind, is sea pollution. Fuel spills from ship sinkings are very harmful for life in the oceans, and currently there is no easy way to clean up the oil when it hits water surface. Surprisingly, a solution for this problem may be hidden in the bottom of the ocean itself! Researchers have discovered a new group of oil-eater bacteria down in the Mariana Trench, one of the deepest places of the sea. These bacteria naturally feed on hydrocarbons, which are chemically similar to those in oil. Once we know more about them, these awesome microbes may help us to reduce oil spills from the oceans! Read more here >
#bacteria like to fly into the face of danger! But only one of these risk-lover #AwesomeMicrobes is real! You can vote now in our #SynbioQuiz!
And the answer is… A! E. coli is naturally able to detect and move towards some substances. They use receptor proteins called chemoreceptors to sense their surroundings and make this movement. A student group from Technion has engineered E. coli to detect heavy metals and organic compounds, among others using genes of another naturally existing bacterium, Pseudomonas. This microbe is known for being able to detect many kind of substances, such as heavy metals. This improved bacterium is a synthetic biology application that may be useful to detect a great range of different compounds in the field!
8.#Bacteria are coming! ⛄ #TheFinalEpisode of #GameOfThrones finale has arrived! 🐲 No better way to celebrate it than with this #AgarArt challenge! 🎨 Show us your results!
This month we dedicated our Agar Art Challenge to the final episode of Game of Thrones! For us, this bacterium is the legitimate heir to the Iron Throne!
9. Check your wardrobe. Is there any piece of clothing you don’t use anymore? 👕 These #AwesomeMicrobes will take care of it for you! 🚮 Discover how here! 👇
Fashion is very important in modern societies! Everybody wants to wear the trendiest shirt or pair of shoes, so sometimes we tend to buy more clothes than we actually need. But what happens with the pieces of clothing we don’t wear anymore? They may end up in a dumping site, and fabric is a very harmful pollutant. Bacteria may save the day again! In nature, even if it is not the most suitable food source for them, some species can degrade and feed on polyester, one of the most common substances used to make fabric. To make it look more appetizing for bacteria, some companies have started to chemically modify polyester fabric! This may open the door to use these awesome microbes to take care of fabric waste! Read more >
10. Is this the first step towards artificial life? 🔬 Rewrite the rules and meet the first #bacteria that hides a synthetic genome inside ✍ Read more here! 👇
The aim of synthetic biology is the design and fabrication of biological features that didn’t exist previously in nature. This goal has relied on the combination and manipulation of DNA that already existed, but it looks like new rules have been established. Researchers have created the first human-made genome! They have rewritten Escherichia coli’s DNA, creating a synthetic genome four times larger and far more complex than the natural one. These bacteria grow a bit slower than wild E. coli and are shaped differently, but they are very much alive! These microbes are the first living beings with a completely artificial genome inside, and they may become the milestone to start designing artificial life! Read more >