Arsenic-Eating Bacteria-Six Essential Chemicals for Life

Phosphorus is one of six chemical elements that have long been thought to be essential for all Life As We Know It. The others are carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and sulfur.

While nature has been able to engineer substitutes for some of the other elements that exist in trace amounts for specialized purposes — like iron to carry oxygen — until now there has been no substitute for the basic six elements. Now, scientists say, these results will stimulate a lot of work on what other chemical replacements might be possible. The most fabled, much loved by science fiction authors but not ever established, is the substitution of silicon for carbon.

Phosphorus chains form the backbone of DNA and its chemical bonds, particularly in a molecule known as adenosine triphosphate, the principal means by which biological creatures store energy. “It’s like a little battery that carries chemical energy within cells,” said Dr. Scharf. So important are these “batteries,” Dr. Scharf said, that the temperature at which they break down, about 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit), is considered the high-temperature limit for life.

Arsenic sits right beneath phosphorus in the periodic table of the elements and shares many of its chemical properties. Indeed, that chemical closeness is what makes it toxic, Dr. Wolfe-Simon said, allowing it to slip easily into a cell’s machinery where it then gums things up, like bad oil in a car engine.

via Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Force New Thinking on What Constitutes Life – NYTimes.com.

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From India to U.S.

A dangerous new mutation that makes some bacteria resistant to almost all antibiotics has become increasingly common in India and Pakistan and is being found in patients in Britain and the United States who got medical care in those countries, according to new studies.Experts in antibiotic resistance called the gene mutation, named NDM-1, “worrying” and “ominous,” and they said they feared it would spread globally.

via Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Moving From South Asia to U.S. – NYTimes.com.

Using the USB Microscope-Sample Images and Microscopy Project

Gentlemen, here are some links and sample projects for the microscope.
My model is called the USB Shot and comes with a 50x lense but no stand.

Drivers to download, etc., Visit: http://www.goalfinder.com/product.asp?productid=26
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Sample Upper Elementary/Middle School Project:

Microscope and Cell Division

Sample Early Elementary Project–or Intro to Microscope Project for any age.

  • Day 1: teacher intros microscope… theory and practice–demonstrates what it can do
  • Day 2: kids work in small groups to find, focus, and photograph objects (one plant specimen: e.g., flowers or pepper; one mineral specimen, e.g. salt, or metal pins ) that they brought in…’ Each student chooses their favorite shot.
  • Day 3: teacher shows slide show with every student’s best shot-labeled, etc.  Passes out individual shots for students to take home, puts pages with students’ best shots up on bulletin board in each grades homeroom.

Sample Still Photos–first grade project

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Bacteria – Classification and Diversity

Phylogenetic tree showing the diversity of bacteria, compared to other organisms.[137] Eukaryotes are colored red, archaea green and bacteria blue

Identification of bacteria in the laboratory is particularly relevant in medicine, where the correct treatment is determined by the bacterial species causing an infection. Consequently, the need to identify human pathogens was a major impetus for the development of techniques to identify bacteria.

via Bacteria – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Mothers fight Lyme disease- Other Tick Disease Articles

Instead of packing their children into SUVs and heading for a field, they take long drives upstate to watch their sons or daughters receive intravenous drug treatments, attend meetings with teachers, organize informational forums and work with state and local health officials in an effort to make sure the experiences they have had are not repeated.

Some do this while they are ill themselves.”What’s brought most of us here is we are mothers with children who are affected, and we can’t watch the suffering anymore,” said Siciliano, co-president of the group.

Along with Siciliano, every woman involved either has been infected or affected by Lyme disease. Their stories include accounts of children afflicted with fatigue, depression, joint aches, memory loss and blurred vision – common symptoms of Lyme disease.

via Mothers fight Lyme disease,

But the blood tests for the disease are no more than 40 percent accurate, health officials have said.

LymeBlog – BETH’S QUEST: Family crusades against Lyme disease

She was a history teacher at South Kingstown High School and was on a teaching retreat on Nantucket when a tick bit her in 1993. A colleague noticed the telltale red bull’s eye rash on Coen’s neck as they drove home.

Coen saw a doctor who prescribed an oral antibiotic. She was fine for a year or two, but then began the chronic sinus infections, migraine headaches, night sweats and muscle spasms.”

What it actually was was the Lyme disease, and she’d have swelling and muscle spasms in the sinus region,” Yarrow said.

One spasm was so severe it broke Coen’s jaw, her father said. Other spasms wracked her body so violently that her ribs were twisted out of alignment, Yarrow said.

via LymeBlog – BETH’S QUEST: Family crusades against Lyme disease.