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Posts Tagged "Soil"

The Artful Amoeba

New Worm-Like Mite Features Extraordinary Upholstery


This bizarre structure is not from the prop shop of a science fiction movie, though it may well provide inspiration there. What might you guess this claw-like appendage is attached to? Would you have guessed . . . a mite? As in, the same group of spider-relative arachnids that brought us the dust mite, the [...]

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Guest Blog

Cell Phones Monitor Water, Soil on African Farms [Q&A]

Pulsepod, a cellular-enabled system for low-cost environmental sensing. (Photo: Adam Wolf)

When he was in elementary school, Kelly Caylor built a weather station in his parents’ Tallahassee, Florida backyard. Decades later, he’s distributing high-tech environmental sensors, or “pods,” throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Unlike the DIY contraption he built as a student, these pods are smart, high-tech, and talkative. Now an ecohydrologist at Princeton University, Caylor wants to [...]

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Microbes and Pathogen Genes Fill New York City Soil

GoogleMaps plot of 596 soil sample locations. Image courtesy of Kelly Ramirez.

With all the attention to the Ebola virus and other pathogens floating around in bodily fluids and the air, we may not be aware that the dirt beneath our feet is home to thousands of bacteria and other microorganisms. Even the soil in New York City, which we might think is somewhat lifeless given the [...]

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Soil May Help Pathogens Make Us Sick


Tetracycline—a powerful antibiotic—came from the soil. Researchers isolated the drug, used to treat everything from sexually transmitted diseases to bacterial pneumonia, from the soil-dwelling microbe Septomyces aureofaciens, which produces tetracycline to kill its microbe neighbors. So it comes as no surprise that other soil microbes have evolved ways to resist this antibiotic But a new [...]

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Plugged In

The Earth Beneath Our Feet

Healthy soil begets healthy plants, says the Dirt Doctor. (photo courtesy of shutterstock)

Some people take Earth Day more literally than others. Howard Garrett is one of them. Better known as the Dirt Doctor, Garrett believes that the health of the planet begins with the earth beneath our feet; it starts with cultivating strong vibrant soil, and blossoms outwards from there. “Without healthy soil, we won’t have healthy [...]

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