Meet freelance-biophysicist Josiah Zayner. He’s one of those people who decided to take matters into his own hands when his life became substantially affected by severe gastrointestinal pain. Taking the matter into his own hands proved to be quite messy, since the matter he was handling consisted of human feces, and not even his own.
Bacteria are everywhere. Therefore, it’s a safe assumption that they should also be present in plastic recycle factories. With this line of reasoning Japanese researchers took 250 soil samples in the piles of waste and the wastewater of a recycle factory in the Japanese city Sakai. There they hoped to find a microbe, which, after years of inhabiting the plastic pool, had naturally evolved the ability to digest plastic (polyethylene terephthalate, or PET to be exact).
Henk Jonkers, a microbiologist at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, has developed a way to make the cracks in concrete structures heal themselves. This is accomplished by embedding the concrete with limestone producing bacteria – the Bacilus Pseudofirmus or the Sporosacina Pasteurii.
Sample collection in hard-to-reach and harsh environments has often made scientific research a costly and dangerous exercise. Luckily technology has helped us overcome some of these difficulties.
Although costly robots, for instance, have for a long time been the equipment of choice to collect samples in space. But there is a new competitor for the robot space-sample collector. Experiments have shown that a remarkable amount of small organisms are able to survive in space. ESA researchers have send living kombucha bacteria into space to look for signs of life.
We recently talked with Suzanne Lee about the textile industry and technology, growing leather in the lab, and the use of new alternative materials in the future of fashion.
We recently talk to Nadine Bongaerts about the role and impact of synthetic biology, the gap between biosciences and society and the importance of communication to overcome the fear of new technologies.