Mutated, drug-resistant bacteria lurk in the peaceful British countryside
Sewage-treatment plants described as giant ‘mixing vessels’
after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river
Exclusive to The Independent, 19 July 2014 (by Steve Connor)
Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal have been found for the first time in a British river – with scientists pinpointing a local sewage-treatment plant as the most likely source.
Scientists discovered the drug-resistant bacteria in sediment samples taken downstream of the sewerage plant on the River Sowe near Coventry. The microbes contained mutated genes that confer resistance to the latest generation of antibiotics.
The researchers believe the discovery shows how antibiotic resistance has become widespread in the environment, with sewage-treatment plants now acting as giant “mixing vessels” where antibiotic resistance can spread between different microbes.
A study found that a wide range of microbes living in the river had acquired a genetic mutation that is known to provide resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, a class of antibiotics used widely to treat meningitis, blood infections and other hospital-acquired infections.
Copyright by The Independent, all rights reserved.
My 15th blood donation today! You can save up to three lives with each donation, and can donate every 56 days. My iron level was great today; I had a few reservations because I’ve been rejected a couple times. If you can,want to donate, or have been considering donating, make an appointment today!
Blue buttons have antimicrobial properties
The so called Blue button looks like a jellyfish but it isn’t, well isn’t even a single organism, but a colony of hydroids scientifically named Porpita porpita (Anthoathecata - Porpitidae).
Results of a study to check the antimicrobial properties of these sea organisms, published in 2010 in the Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, indicate that extract of the central disc region of Porpita porpita exhibits activity against both bacterial (gram-positive and gram-negative) and fungal strains. The maximum antibacterial inhibition was recorded in Klebsiella pneumonia and the maximum antifungal activity against Aspergillus niger.
These yet preliminary analyses show that the Blue button, beside being beautiful, contains antimicrobial peptides, which might prove to be of high use in the pharmaceutical industry as a component of antibiotics.
Photo credit: ©Bjørn Christian Tørrissen | Locality: Mozambique
The doctor at the forefront of Sierra Leone’s fight against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in the region has contracted Ebola himself, Reuters reported Wednesday.
As of this week, Ebola has claimed 632 lives in three West African countries, according to the World Health Organization. Virologist Sheik Umar Khan, 39, has treated more than 100 victims of the disease. Sierra Leone Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called him a “national hero” and said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives,” according to Reuters.
Last month, Khan told Reuters that he was aware of the risk of himself contracting the disease, which kills up to 90 percent of those infected. “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life,” he said. “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk.”
World’s largest earthquake damper
A tuned mass damper, also known as a harmonic absorber, is a device mounted in structures to reduce the amplitude of mechanical vibrations. Their application can prevent discomfort, damage, or outright structural failure. They are frequently used in power transmission, automobiles, and buildings.(source:Wikipedia)
This 728 tons steel pendulum is installed in one of the world’s tallest buildings, the taipei 101 in Taiwan. It helps stabilize the building in case of strong winds and earthquakes, through simple mechanics, when the building moves in a direction it swings in the opposite direction reducing movement by 40%. You can understand how it works by looking at the small GIF image.
It cost $4 million to install the huge damper in the skyscraper but architects and engineers said it had to be done. It spans across 4 of the building’s stories and it was assembled on site because it couldn’t be lifted by a crane, due to its enormous weight.
Here’s a video of the damper in action, on May 12th,2008, when a horrific earthquake hit one of China’s provinces and the tremors reached as gar as Taipei. As the building started to shake, people ran towards the center to see the damper in action, it did it’s job.