When the bomb goes off there'll be a thousand mutations! Andromeda will spread everywhere! They'll never be rid of it!

Dr. Jeremy Stone in "
The Andromeda Strain"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CSI Las Vegas. Beware with Aureobasidium

In the episode "Let the seller beware" from CSI Las Vegas the presence of the fungus Aureobasidium pullulans in a crime scene helps Grissom and his boys to resolve the case.

In 1984 it was described that this fungus produced a dermatitis in people of Scandinavian descent. Unfortunately I couldn't found the original article. Instead I found this one about the relation of sensitivity towards A. pullulans with the severity of asthma attacks.

Aureobasidium pullulans is famous because it's a fungus of biotechnological interest. Its main product is pullulan, a polysaccharide used in food and pharmaceutical industries to produce oxygen-impermeable protective films. But it also produces a variety of degrading enzymes such as amylase, proteases and xylanase.

Niedoszytko, M., Chełmińska, M., Jassem, E., & Czestochowska, E. (2007). Association between sensitization to Aureobasidium pullulans (Pullularia sp) and severity of asthma Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 98 (2), 153-156 DOI: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)60688-6
Chi, Z., Wang, F., Chi, Z., Yue, L., Liu, G., & Zhang, T. (2009). Bioproducts from Aureobasidium pullulans, a biotechnologically important yeast Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 82 (5), 793-804 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-009-1882-2

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CSI New York: a nest with Greensulate

Alltough with some exagerations (It's showbusiness!) one must recognize that CSI series are on the top when we talking about science, entertainment and TV.

In the episode "cuckoo's nest" from "CSI, New York", the CSI team discover fibers of "Greensulate". Fungal growth on agriculture residues renders this new biomaterial that can be a substitute for styrofoam. Here is the link to the company: Ecovative design. This is a good example of embeded marketing from a biotech company.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931) Epidemic control 1900's style

Desperate times requires desperate measures. Arrowsmith and Sondelius do their best to control the spread of the plague.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931) Bioethical issues

Arrowsmith faces a difficult bioethical decision. The effectiveness of the cure against plague should be tested by an experiment. But this time the experimental subjects are others.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931). Plague Outbreak

This cut shows the trip of a disease from one part of the world (Asia) to the other (Caribean Islands) by sea transport.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931) Discovering bacteriophages

After two years of fruitless research, Arrowsmith thinks that he had a jackpot. Something kills the bacteria. But deception awaits.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931) New lab

At last, Arrowsmith has a position as a scientific researcher. Now, he has a new Laboratory with state of the art technology. Here he meet again with his mentor.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931). Experimental design

In the fourth cut, Arrowsmith shows his happines because he can made "Science!". He wants to develop a cure against Blackleg disease, but how?.

In the video there is a couple of questions to be answer by the students.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931). Conference about microbiology

In this third cut, Arrowsmith goes to a conference where a doctor gives a pasionate talk about "microbe hunters" and "doctor-soldiers".

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Arrowsmith (1931). Infant Diphtheria

In this second cut, Arrowsmith is a rural doctor that has to face its first case of child's diphtheria.

2.- Infant diphtheria