• Nano detector spots deadly anthrax

    The average time of detection of an anthrax attack by current methods — the time required for DNA purification, combined with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis — is sixty minutes; a new, automatic, and portable detector takes just fifteen minutes to analyze a sample suspected of contamination with anthrax

  • Microalgae : Texas' next big cash crop

    There are an estimated 200,000 to 800,000 species of microalgae — microscopic algae that thrive in freshwater and marine systems; scientists say microalgae offers a huge, untapped source of fuel, food, feed, pharmaceuticals, and even pollution-busters; it is set to be Texas’ next big cash crop

  • New technology makes textiles permanently germ-free

    University of Georgia scientist develops a new technology that makes textiles permanently germ-free, targeting healthcare-associated infections; the new material effectively kills a wide spectrum of bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can cause disease, break down fabrics, create stains, and produce odors

  • Sprouts blamed for U.S. Salmonella outbreak

    After infecting more than 4,000 people across Europe and North America, sprouts have been blamed once more for a food-borne outbreak, this time in the United States; on Tuesday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that sprouts were the source of a Salmonella outbreak which has sickened more than twenty people across five states including Washington, Montana, and Idaho

  • 100 Utah employees quarantined after measles outbreak

    A measles outbreak has forced a power plant in northern Utah to keep hundreds of its employees at home; last week an employee at the Intermountain Power Agency power plant in Delta, Utah tested positive for measles prompting officials to order an estimated 100 employees and contractors born after 1957 to stay home until they can show that they have been fully vaccinated

  • China pushes for food security at G20 agriculture meeting

    At a G20 meeting of agricultural ministers, Chinese officials urged their counterparts to address food security; China said addressing market volatility and food security is a top priority and that leaders should come to an agreement on how to handle soaring food prices; in recent years natural disasters, increases in demand, international speculation, and the increased use of biofuels have all caused food prices to spike

  • New tool predicts drought

    Knowing when to instigate water saving measures in dry times will be easier from now on, following a breakthrough in drought prediction: an Australian researcher has developed a way to predict droughts six months before they begin

  • Pinellas County, Florida simulates anthrax attack

    Last Wednesday a local health department in Florida staged an elaborate disaster exercise replete with angry mobs, fainting citizens, and shouting matches; the exercise, dubbed Operation MedStock, gave officials from the Pinellas County Health Department an opportunity to respond to a simulated anthrax attack

  • Biolabs: the solution may be the problem

    Since the fall 2001 anthrax attacks, there has been a vast expansion of the U.S. bioterror research infrastructure; now, more than 11,000 scientists work on bioterrorism and agroterrorism research in seventeen major and many more smaller labs across the United States; billions of federal dollars are funding research on new vaccines and antibiotics to protect the population from anthrax, plague, tularemia, Ebola, and other lethal germs; what is the likelihood that there is another Bruce Ivins — perhaps more than one — among these thousands of researchers with access to the most lethal pathogens on Earth?

  • "Networking" turns up flu virus tied to 2009 pandemic

    Scientists using new mathematical and computational techniques have identified six influenza A viruses that have particularly close genetic relationships to the H1N1 “swine” flu virus that swept through the United States beginning in the spring of 2009; that virus eventually killed almost 18,000 people worldwide

  • Report warns falling crop yields could spell disaster

    A recent study found that as temperatures continue to rise the geographical range of staple crops like corn and beans will become increasingly limited, potentially resulting in massive food shortages; there are currently fifty-six million people who lack food security as temperatures are expected to rise above 86° Fahrenheit; at that temperature, beans are no longer a viable crop, while rice and corn yields suffer

  • Sprouts declared source of deadly E.coli outbreak, again

    After declaring last week that sprouts were not the culprit of the deadly E. coli outbreak, German officials are now saying that sprouts were indeed the source after all; the announcement comes without conclusive evidence that sprouts were the source of the bacterial outbreak; instead health investigators are relying on circumstantial evidence; tests from the farm located in Lower Saxony have come up negative for the rare strain of E. coli that is sickening patients

  • Boulder Colorado hit with plague and rabies

    On 3 June, the Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) department warned residents of the Mapleton Hill area that a domestic cat and a dead squirrel had tested positive for the plague; according to Joe Malinowski, the manager of BCPH’s Environmental Health Division, last week a second dead squirrel was found with the plague, but the cat had been successfully treated for the disease; so far there have been no other confirmed cases, but residents have reported several additional dead squirrels

  • EU harshly critical of Germany's approach to E. coli crisis

    In Germany, responsibilities for responding to a crisis — any crisis — are spread across local, municipal, state, and federal agencies, with no central information center to inform the public, and with little coordination among the various responding bodies

  • Terrorist may use food poisoning as weapon

    Food and drink sold in Britain — in stores, at restaurants — are under an increasing threat from terrorist groups which might try to poison supplies, thus wreaking havoc and sowing fear, a government security advisers have warned