researchers identify ancient protein pumps that make bacteria tough to treat –
but could be key to new green polymers
The molecular machinery used by bacteria to
resist chemicals designed to kill them could also help produce precursors for a
new generation of nylon and other polymers, according to new research by
scientists from Australia and the UK.
“Resistance to artificial antiseptics
appears to be a lucky accident for the bacteria, and it could also be useful
for humans,” says Professor Ian Paulsen of Australia’s Macquarie University,
one of the leaders of the research group.
Australian scientists develop cheap and rapid
way to identify antibiotic-resistant golden staph (MRSA).
A combination of off-the-shelf quantum dot nanotechnology
and a smartphone camera soon could allow doctors to identify
antibiotic-resistant bacteria in just 40 minutes, potentially saving patient
Staphylococcus aureus (golden staph), is a common form of bacterium that causes serious and sometimes fatal conditions such as pneumonia and heart valve infections. Of particular concern is a strain that does not respond to methicillin, the antibiotic of first resort, and is known as methicillin-resistant S. aureus, or MRSA.
reports estimate that 700 000 deaths globally could be attributed to antimicrobial
resistance, such as methicillin-resistance. Rapid identification of MRSA is
essential for effective treatment, but current methods make it a challenging
process, even within well-equipped hospitals.
Chinese-Australian research finds climate change good news, and solves an evolutionary mystery
Baby turtles influence their gender by moving around inside
their eggs, research has revealed.
The idea that an embryo reptile can act in a way that
affects its chances of developing as male or female has long been thought
impossible, but findings by scientists from China and Australia have now provided
clear proof of the process.
The research, published in the journal Current Biology,
solves a long-standing evolutionary mystery – and offers hope that at least
some species thought especially vulnerable to effects of climate change will prove
more robust than thought.
Macquarie University’s Professor Rob Harcourt urges Oceania-wide action to safeguard several species.
Sharks in Australian waters are well protected but
are at risk as soon as they leave them, a new international study reveals.
The study compiled by 150 scientists around the
world – including 26 with ties to Australia – has found thateven in the most remote parts of the world’s oceans migratory
sharks are in severe danger from commercial fishing fleets, new research
In a paper published in the journal Nature,
more than 150 scientists, including Professor Rob Harcourt from the Department
of Biological Sciences at Australia’s Macquarie University, report that the
sharks – which include iconic species such as the shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrinchus) and the great white (Carcharodon
congregate in food-rich areas that are also prime hunting grounds for
commercial longline fishing fleets.
Australian research finds little lizards learn very quickly.
Young Australian eastern blue-tongue lizards (Tiliqua scincoides) are every bit as clever as adults, researchers have found.
Life is hard for
baby blue-tongues. As soon as they are born, they are on their own, with
neither parental support nor protection. Adults of the species can grow to 600
millimetres long and enjoy the benefits of thick scales and a powerful bite,
but the young are much smaller and thus more vulnerable to predation.
And that means
they have to box clever if they are to survive.
Australian and South American researchers posit wandering “ploonets” as unseen actors in distant solar systems.
Moons ejected from
orbits around gas giant exoplanets could explain several astronomical
mysteries, an international team of astronomers suggests.
Researchers led by
Mario Sucerquia, from the Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, and Jaime
Alvarado-Montes from Australia’s Macquarie University, modelled the likely
behaviour of giant exomoons predicted to form around massive planets – and
discovered that they would be expelled and sent packing.
Roughly 50% of
these ejected moons would survive both the immediate expulsion and avoid any
subsequent collision with the planet or the star, ending up as quasi-planets
travelling around the host star, but in eccentric “Pluto-like” orbits.
New Guinea is one of the only places in the world where frogs are safe from the species-destroying chytrid fungus. An international team of scientists has published a new paper that shows how to keep it that way, but they need help to carry out their plan.
The chytrid fungus has wiped out more than 90 frog species around the world, and it’s driving hundreds more towards extinction. New Guinea – the world’s largest tropical island, and home to 6% of all known frog species – is one of the last remaining refuges from the deadly infection.
A team of scientists led by researchers from Macquarie University and the University of New England in Australia think they know how to keep the island’s frogs safe, but they need support to establish a long-term program of monitoring and conservation.
The diamond on your finger is most likely made of recycled seabed cooked deep in the Earth.
Traces of salt trapped in many diamonds show the stones are formed from ancient seabeds that became buried deep beneath the Earth’s crust, according to new research led by Macquarie University geoscientists.
Location matters for species struggling to survive under a changing climate.
A new study led by Macquarie University has
found we need to provide more safe havens for wildlife and plant species to
survive under climate change in New South Wales’ west.
Along the Great Dividing Range, the vulnerable
spotted-tailed quoll will be forced to move into higher habitats as the climate
changes, but can find sanctuary in protected areas like Kosciuszko National
Ten per cent of the oxygen we breathe comes from just one kind of bacteria in the ocean. Now laboratory tests have shown that these bacteria are susceptible to plastic pollution, according to a study published in Communications Biology tonight.
“We found that exposure to chemicals leaching from plastic pollution interfered with the growth, photosynthesis and oxygen production of Prochlorococcus, the ocean’s most abundant photosynthetic bacteria,” says lead author and Macquarie University researcher Dr Sasha Tetu.
“Now we’d like to explore if plastic pollution is having the same impact on these microbes in the ocean.”
As partners in the $329 million Blue Economy CRC announced in Launceston
Macquarie University engineers will
develop new technologies for ocean
infrastructure as part of the Blue Economy Cooperative Research Centre
announced by Karen Andrews, the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
Economy CRC will drive an evolution in marine-based industries, unlocking
enormous economic, environmental and technological benefits in aquaculture and
renewable energy in Australia’s maritime zone.
As partners in the $245 million SmartSat CRC announced in Adelaide this morning.
research and industry partners are contributing $190 million investment in cash
and in kind to the new Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Satellite
Technologies and Analytics, and the Australian government is contributing a
further $55 million. The CRC is led by the University of South Australia.
new generation of low-cost smart satellite technology has the potential to
enhance agriculture, mining, communication and national security,” says
Associate Professor Sam Reisenfeld, who leads Macquarie University’s
contribution to the CRC.
Artist’s impression of the polaritonic photon conversion platform. Laser photons enter through the top mirror and leave through the bottom mirror exhibiting quantum ‘granularity’ – after interacting with the semiconductor layer. Image: Andrew Wood
An international team of researchers led out of Macquarie University has demonstrated a new approach for converting ordinary laser light into genuine quantum light.
Their approach uses nanometre-thick films made of gallium arsenide, which is a semiconductor material widely used in solar cells. They sandwich the thin films between two mirrors to manipulate the incoming photons.
The photons interact with electron-hole pairs in the semiconductor, forming new chimeric particles called polaritons that carry properties from both the photons and the electron-hole pairs. The polaritons decay after a few picoseconds, and the photons they release exhibit distinct quantum signatures.
The teams’ research was published overnight in the journal Nature Materials.
A promiscuous female fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) marked with paint. Photo: The Wigby Lab
Males have to make less of an effort to mate with promiscuous female fruit flies, making the quality and quantity of their semen all the more important in the competition to fertilise the females’ eggs.
This also leads to male flies repeatedly mating with the same female, according to a paper published overnight in Nature Communications, by researchers from Macquarie University, the University of Oxford and the University of East Anglia, who looked into the eyes of thousands of fruit flies.
Rice (Oryza sativa) is the major food source for more than half the world’s population. Photo: Pille-Riin Priske/Unsplash CC
Researchers have identified over 5,700 new proteins in rice and are calling for a global effort to find the remaining missing proteins, in a new study co-authored by Macquarie University.
The international team of scientists from Australia, Iran and Japan say there’s an estimated 35,000 proteins encoded by the rice genome, and yet we still don’t have experimental evidence for 82 per cent of them.
This is important because rice is the major food source for more than half the world’s population, and in order for it to grow in warmer climates and with less water we will need to better understand rice at the molecular level. [continue reading…]