An entirely new carbon sink in the oceans may have been discovered

One of the themes that has run through prior posts is to note that our understanding of the carbon cycle may leave more than a little to be desired. Such lack of understanding may explain why the impacts of global warming are, in some cases, more severe than anticipated, and in some cases less severe...

An important mechanism for the spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is identified

The abuse of antibiotics is commonly (and rightly) associated with the development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. It is a well recognized principle that underlies attempts to limit antibiotic use to only the most necessary conditions, and to eliminate the prophylactic use of antibiotics in animal...

Amoebas in drinking water: An untreated threat to health

EPA recently announced they are moving forward, contrary to the policy of the Bush Administration, with setting standards for various toxics in drinking water. Unfortunately, attention is not being given to a serious health threat, amoebas in drinking water. Amoebas (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki...

Ninth Circuit rules that owners of storm water systems (e.g., cities, counties, districts) are liable for discharges of polluted stormwater into rivers and ocean

It is well known that stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants as it flows across the landscape and even through stormwater drainage systems. See, for example, http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6 and http://www.epa.gov/owow_keep/NPS/index.html . In NRDC v. County of Los Angeles, Ninth...

Antibiotics and vaccines can act as selection factors for bacteria

As noted in prior posts, almost anything has the potential to act as an evolutionary selection factor. [Yes, Virginia, there really is evolution.] A recent assessment that traces the history of a virulent strain of pneumonia-causing bacteria demonstrates that both antibiotics and vaccines can act as...

Pets can transmit salmonella bacteria

As many prior posts have noted, the key issue in toxic tort litigation is causation. With sloppy practices seeming to occur with fair regularity in the food industry, there has been an assumption that most sources of salmonella to which individuals are exposed are related to food products (e.g., eggs...

Oil from Gulf of Mexico spill may still be present, particularly on the Gulf floor

Prior posts have noted that the dispersants used in the BP spill had a longer than anticipated life in the Gulf. Additionally, prior posts have noted the evidence supporting the thesis that the oil was consumed by microbes unusually fast. Recently published evidence indicates that the latter assertion...

Diversity not only provides increased stability to ecological communities, it is more efficient for remediating contamination

It has long been an axiom of environmental science that a diverse ecological community (aka biodiversity) is more resilient and productive because it stabilizes the ecological system as a whole. This should not be confused with a focus on an individual species for which the complex interactions within...

Some bacteria found on grocery store meat are resistant to antibiotics, often many antibiotics

Prior posts have noted the unfortunate tendency in much of the world, including the U.S., to over prescribed antibiotics (even for conditions in which antibiotics are of no use whatsoever [e.g., viral infections]), resulting in disease-causing organisms that are resistant to many (if not almost all)...

Humans can transmit diseases to gorillas

Prior posts have noted and described a number of human diseases that had their origin in animals. Now it appears that some diseases can be transmitted from humans to gorillas. Ecotourism has been seen as a boon for countries with "interesting" biota; it provides funding for protection of...

Study warns of potential increase in global mercury emissions, which would impact animals in Arctic region

An assessment by a scientific body set up by the eight Arctic rim countries has projected that global mercury emissions could grow by 25% by 2020 if no action is taken to control such emissions, posing a threat to polar bears, whales, and seals and the Arctic communities who hunt those animals for food...

Can antibiotics interfere with the body's ability to fight viruses? Perhaps so.

Prior posts have noted that abuse and misuse of antibiotics in people and animals has lead to an increase in antibiotic resistant organisms, to the detriment of human health. Prior posts have also noted the importance of bacteria to human health and welfare (and that there are 10 bacteria in the human...

Seaweed and licorice may help improve the immune system of swine, decreasing the need for antibiotics

As noted in prior posts, antibiotics are used not only to treat disease in animals, but also to prevent disease and to stimulate growth. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry has lead to the rapid development of bacteria that are resistant to such antibiotics...

Did Gulf surface bacteria not find Deepwater Horizon oil to be a complete diet?

Prior posts have discussed various aspects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its impact on the biota of the Gulf. Bioremediation has several goals. First, one uses nature to remediate contamination, saving significant sums. Second, the "food" (contaminant) should cause the bacteria to...

Coriander oil is found to kill E. Coli, Salmonella, & MRSA

Prior posts have noted the adverse environmental effects that are being seen with some bactericides. Prior posts have also noted the wide variety of substances that can act as selection factors affecting the evolution of various organisms. Researchers now report that oil extracted from coriander seeds...

Another reason to control erosion and nutrient runoff -- Cholera

Numerous prior posts have followed the growing understanding of what factors drive the Gulf of Mexico dead zone. It pretty much comes down to nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River and its tributaries (e.g., sewage, feedlots, agricultural fertilizers). Now, another association of such nutrient additions...

Intestinal bacteria may trigger multiple sclerosis

Physicians have not identified the cause of multiple sclerosis. Theses include an individual's genetics, environment, and possibly a virus. In such an environment, all types of theories can be thrown up and become the basis for litigation, not unlike what happened with mercury preservatives in various...

Colony collapse disorder, has the answer finally been found? Possibly

Prior posts have discussed the various research done and theories put forth related to colony collapse disorder (see Colony Collapse Disorder for an overview). The range of potential causes includes pesticides, global warming, disease, and habitat destruction. The problem has been getting worse since...

Eating yogurt without more does not produce lasting changes in the mix of bacteria in the GI tract

Prior posts have noted the impact of GI bacteria on human health, from their potential to prevent a variety of diseases to perhaps being the cause of other afflictions. In what has been referred to as an elegant study, researchers undertook human and animal studies to ascertain what effect, if any...

Stress May Increase Inflammation and the Diseases Associated Therewith

Prior posts have noted that for toxic torts causation is the central focus, and that it is very difficult to prove. Prior posts have also noted that the makeup of the bacteria in one's GI tract can have a major influence on generating inflammation; a healthy diet can modify the makeup of these bacteria...

As Much as 1/3 of Earth's Biomass Lives Beneath the Ocean Floor

They are referred to as intraterrestrials, organisms that live inside the Earth. Most live beneath the bottom of the oceans. Some live in the tens of meters of mud just beneath the seafloors; others, following fractures in rock, live hundreds of meters down. By some estimates, as much as one-third of...

More Studies are Focusing on the Types of Bacteria that are Part of all Humans

Prior posts have noted that a) for every 1 human cell there are 10 bacteria in or on our bodies; b) these bacteria are key to the digestion of our food, production of necessary nutrients, and disease prevention; c) the nature of our diet influences the make-up of bacterial colonies in our GI tract; d...

Coyotes May Be Indirectly Responsible for Spreading Lyme Disease

Deer often are blamed for the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease; many local programs focus on deer populations as a method to control Lyme disease. A new thesis suggests these programs are not targeting the actual driving force, coyotes. Researchers note that records from the past three decades link...

Intestinal bacteria can cause malnutrition

Prior posts, often in the context of assessments that need to be considered in the context of toxic tort litigation, have described the amazing impacts, both beneficial and adverse, that can derive from the intestinal bacterial flora. [And remember my favorite factoid..there are 10 bacteria in the human...

Why is beef bad for your heart and arteries? Only your GI bacteria know for sure

Prior posts have noted the extent to which the makeup of the bacteria in one's GI tract can be critically important. The wrong mix, which apparently arises from the nature of one's diet, can lead to a wide variety of unfortunately ugly diseases and adverse conditions. Research now indicates that...