Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead bodies, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

Plants might be able to tell us about the location of dead people, helping families find missing people

Researchers are figuring out how plants respond to the presence of human cadavers. The findings could prove important for discovering the locations of murder victims or mass graves.

Neal Stewart, Professor of Plant Sciences, University of Tennessee • conversation
Sept. 3, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  evolution  innovation  agriculture  plants  microbes  adaptation  genetically-modified-organisms  forensics  genetically-modified-plants  decomposition

Bacteria and viruses are travelling the world on highways in the sky

The atmosphere has a microbiome of bacteria, viruses and fungi that travel around the world on highways in the sky.

Predrag Slijepcevic, Senior Lecturer in Biology, Brunel University London • conversation
July 21, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: bacteria microbiome microbes microbiology viruses

Is bar soap as gross as millennials say? Not really, and we're all covered with microbes anyway

Finally, an answer to a long-bubbling question: What works best – bar or liquid soap?

Michelle Sconce Massaquoi, Doctoral Candidate in Microbiology, University of Oregon • conversation
July 14, 2020 ~7 min

Tags:  bacteria  covid-19  coronavirus  pandemic  microbiome  microbes  germs  soap

City compost programs turn garbage into 'black gold' that boosts food security and social justice

Turning food scraps and yard trimmings into compost improves soil, making it easier for people to grow their own food. City composting programs spread those benefits more widely.

Sue Ishaq, Assistant Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Maine • conversation
June 11, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: climate-change soil microbes compost methane food-waste soil-carbon seattle gardening san-francisco social-justice equity landfills

Hydrogen-breathing aliens? Study suggests new approach to finding extraterrestrial life

New research expands the pool of habitable worlds to include super-Earths with hydrogen-rich atmospheres.

David Rothery, Professor of Planetary Geosciences, The Open University • conversation
May 4, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: exoplanets bacteria spectroscopy microbes hydrogen extra-terrestrials alien-life

Buildings have their own microbiomes – we're striving to make them healthy places

We spend 90% of our lives indoors, and every building has its own indoor microbiome. Can we learn to manage them in ways that support helpful microbes and suppress harmful ones?

Mark Fretz, Research Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Oregon • conversation
April 17, 2020 ~10 min

Tags: covid-19 architecture microbiome microbes coronavirus-2020 cleaning buildings environmental-health

Vodka won't protect you from coronavirus, and 4 other things to know about hand sanitizer

Most commercial hand sanitizers are mainly alcohol, but forget about hitting the liquor store and mixing your own.

Jeffrey Gardner, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
March 13, 2020 ~4 min

Tags:  bacteria  covid-19  coronavirus  microbes  microbiology  hand-washing  viruses  hand-sanitizer  quick-reads  questions-answered

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