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Our Favorite Stinky Cheeses Are in Some Trouble

Cloning the same strain of fungus for decades makes cheese uniform, but not sustainable

(Newser) - In news that could upend cheese plates everywhere, some of the stinkiest offerings we love to indulge in are in danger from more than just getting in our bellies. Vox has the scoop on what it calls the "Camembert calamity," and it all boils down to fungi. To...

Finding Could Shrink Mounds of Plastic

Discovery could be a recycling breakthrough

(Newser) - Scientists have been aware of microorganisms that can digest plastic, but they're of limited help. They mostly need temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit to function; heating the environment for them is impractical and not carbon neutral. But now microbes have been isolated that can do the work at a...

'Terrifying' Organism Can't Fit on Our Tree of Life

So maybe it deserves a new branch

(Newser) - Scoop up some dirt, and what do you get—a whole new branch on the tree of life. We can thank Canadian grad student Yana Eglit, who took a dirt sample while hiking and found two microscopic species that have long proved impossible to classify, the CBC reports. "They...

Safety Experts Say 'Raw Water' Trend Is a Very Bad Idea

Drinking untreated water has more drawbacks than the price tag

(Newser) - Is drinking "raw water" a great way to get beneficial minerals and microbes removed by filtration—or do people who pay $15 a gallon for untreated water have more money than sense? The subject has been hotly debated since a New York Times story last week looked at people—...

Purple Spots Marring Vatican Scroll Have Unlikely Source

Parchments around the world are covered in mysterious purple splotches

(Newser) - Call it the attack of the purple pigment. Live Science reports purple splotches are damaging old animal-skin parchments around the world. Take, for example, a 16-foot-long scroll inside the Vatican Secret Archives. The parchment was written by Italian villagers in 1244 asking the Church to make Laurentius Loricatus a saint....

Evidence of Deepest Life on Earth Found Near Mariana Trench

Microbes could be living up to 6 miles under the seafloor

(Newser) - A team of researchers may have discovered evidence of the deepest life on Earth (and we're not talking college freshmen taking their first philosophy class). According to a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , there may be microbes living up to six miles under...

Life That May Be 50K Years Old Found Trapped in Crystals

Scientists say the microbes are not only old but also very weird

(Newser) - In a Mexican cave system so beautiful and hot that it's called both Fairyland and hell, scientists have discovered life trapped in crystals that could be 50,000 years old, the AP reports. The bizarre and ancient microbes were found dormant in caves in Naica, Mexico, and were able...

Here's Why Amish Kids Don't Get Asthma as Often

They can probably thank the cows

(Newser) - You're probably less likely to see an Amish kid carrying around an inhaler, because they don't seem to get asthma as often as other kids—and researchers think it's due to the cows, Live Science reports. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine ...

First Mass Extinction Likely Caused by 'Utterly Weird' Animals

Animals shaped like 'Frisbees and lumpy mattresses' may have killed early Ediacarans

(Newser) - New fossil evidence dug up in Namibia lends credence to the theory that we should blame "ecosystem engineers" for the world's first mass extinction, and that's not a euphemism for man, asteroids, or aliens. Instead, per a Vanderbilt University study published in the October issue of the...

Deodorant Changes More Than Your Smell

Study: products actually alter your body's bacteria

(Newser) - Applying deodorant or antiperspirant clearly alters your body’s smell, but it may also alter your body's bacteria. A PeerJ study finds the organisms that live in and on your skin are drastically changed by what you put under your arms. Evolutionary genomicist Julie Horvath recruited 17 participants—antiperspirant...

You Have an Invisible Cloud, Much Like a Fingerprint

The bacteria around you could tie you to the scene of a crime

(Newser) - When someone says you're in their personal bubble, they aren't exactly speaking metaphorically. In a new study , University of Oregon researchers say they've found people really are surrounded by a sort of cloud that's unique to them. The gross part: It's made up of millions...

What the Dust in Your House Says About You

Our dust contains, on average, 9K unique species of microbes

(Newser) - Last year, volunteers mailed in dust samples taken from above interior and exterior door frames in 1,200 homes across the US as part of a citizen science project called Wild Life of Our Homes . Now, scientists are reporting in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B that our...

Beneath Antarctica's Blood Falls, a Clue to Mars?

'Subglacial world' of briny water could hint at life elsewhere

(Newser) - The chillingly named Blood Falls is a fascinating feature of Antarctica's landscape : Interrupting the blanket of frozen white, the falls is a liquid, rusty red. (It's no coincidence that the falls looks rusty: The water gets its color from oxidized iron it carries.) And, as a researcher...

NY Subway Has Bubonic Plague

 NY Subway Has 
 Bubonic Plague 
study says

NY Subway Has Bubonic Plague

Study maps DNA of New York City storied subway system

(Newser) - Like riding the subway in New York? You're not alone: so do countless bacteria including bubonic plague, anthrax, and E. coli, the Wall Street Journal reports. A new study maps out the subway system's DNA, revealing an underground world packed with microbial diversity. "People don’t look...

Scientists Surprised by Central Park Dirt

It has as much biodiversity as soils 'from the Arctic to Antarctica'

(Newser) - Dirt probably isn't something you'd think of as having "so much going on," but scientist Kelly Ramirez begs to differ. She's sampled dirt from tropical forests to deserts around the world and found it "teeming with so many different types of organisms," she...

'Space Sex' Geckos Come Back Frozen to Death

Reproductive systems didn't necessarily fail—shuttle's heating system did

(Newser) - Oops. A Russian space mission meant to test the effect of weightlessness on the gecko's reproductive system didn't quite go as planned. It's not (necessarily) that the geckos weren't mating, it's that all five of them came back dead. And they weren't killed by...

Life May Have Originated Miles Underground

New research questions 'primordial soup' theory

(Newser) - The idea of a "primordial soup," in which life theoretically began in lakes and oceans, may be way off. New studies suggest the beginnings of life on this planet could have occurred deep underground, the Independent reports. Researchers have found microbes up to 3.1 miles below the...

Australia Yields Evidence of Oldest Life Ever

Rocks in Pilbara reveal 3.5B-year-old microbes

(Newser) - We have found the oldest life on Earth, and it is Australian. A team of researchers from Down Under have found signs of "complex microbial ecosystems" in rock formations from the Pilbara region in Western Australia dating back 3.5 billion years, the Guardian reports. The discovery "pushes...

Want Health? Feed the Bacteria Living Inside You

Antibiotics, processed foods aren't helping

(Newser) - Don't look now, but roughly 100 trillion bacteria live in and on your body. According to scientists, these microbes—especially the ones in your gut—may be fending off chronic diseases, moderating your weight, and strengthening your immune system. But our society's processed foods and war on bacteria...

Oregon Brewing Up a State Microbe

Saccharomyces cerevisiae , or beer yeast, would be first state microbe

(Newser) - US states have official flags and official flowers, but Oregon could become the first to have a state microbe—and a delicious microbe, at that. Oregon's microbe of choice is the Saccharomyces cerevisiae, better known as ale yeast, and the bill's sponsor hopes the measure will show appreciation...

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