Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Describe New Way To Peer Inside Bacteria

Date:
August 31, 2005
Source:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Summary:
As part of the search for better ways to track and clean up soil contaminants, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have developed a new way to "image" the internal chemistry of bacteria. The technique will allow scientists to "see" at the molecular level how soil-dwelling microbes interact with pollutants, help scientists better understand and prevent bacterial diseases, and possibly find ways to detect or disable bacteria used in a terror attack.

This figure shows a single cell of Clostridium sp. (a strictly-anaerobic, soil-dwelling bacterium) as imaged by scanning trasmission x-ray spectromicroscopy (left). By analyzing the x-ray absorption spectrum, scientists can pick up subtle biochemical differences between the bulk of the cell body (yellow) and a tiny spore (green) forming inside. This early stage of spore formation would be invisible to other imaging techniques.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

"The more we learn about soil microbe chemistry, thebetter we'll be able to predict the movement of contaminants in theenvironment," said Brookhaven microbiologist Jeffrey Gillow. "What welearn might also suggest new ways to harness microorganisms toimmobilize things like heavy metals and radioactive contaminants," hesaid. Gillow will give a talk on the new method at the 230th nationalmeeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. on Monday,August 29, 2005 at 11:10 a.m. in room 204C of the Washington ConventionCenter.

Called x-ray spectromicroscopy, the method uses theextremely bright x-rays available at Brookhaven's National SynchrotronLight Source (NSLS) -- but not just to take pictures. At the NSLS, thescientists can actually "tune" the energy level of the beam to measuresubtle differences in the energy absorbed by different forms of carbon.This carbon absorption spectrum, or "fingerprint," reveals detailedbiochemical information about what is inside and around the bacterialcells -- and can even detect the formation of bacterial spores at anearly stage invisible to other methods.

"We are starting to learna lot more about the molecular chemistry of these bacteria," saidGillow. "The goal is to understand better how they interact with metalsand radionuclides."

The technique may also reveal details aboutthe process of bacterial spore formation. This could be important toenvironmental cleanup because spore-forming microbes often live incontaminated environments. It might also offer new targets for thedetection of weaponized bacteria (by finding spores at an early stage),or help thwart disease or a terrorist attack by finding ways to preventthe spores from germinating into active, infective bacterial cells.

Withthis technique, Gillow added, samples can be studied wet or dry,without staining, sectioning, or any other intervention such as thoseused in electron and fluorescence microscopy.

This work is acollaborative effort of the Center for Environmental Molecular Science-- which consists of scientists from Stony Brook University andBrookhaven Lab -- and the University of Guelph in Canada. Drawing onthe expertise of microbiologists, chemists, and physicists, it crossestraditional boundaries between scientific disciplines to addressproblems of global significance. The work was funded by the U.S.National Science Foundation and the Office of Biological andEnvironmental Research within the U.S. Department of Energy's Office ofScience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Scientists Describe New Way To Peer Inside Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831080136.htm>.
Brookhaven National Laboratory. (2005, August 31). Scientists Describe New Way To Peer Inside Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831080136.htm
Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Scientists Describe New Way To Peer Inside Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831080136.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins