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Gold in faeces 'worth millions' - BBC News. US researchers are investigating ways to extract the gold and precious metals from human faeces. The group identified gold in waste from American sewage treatment plants at levels which if found in rock could be worth mining. Details were outlined at the 249th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Denver. Extracting metals from the waste could also help curb the release of toxic substances into the environment. "The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit," said co-author Dr Kathleen Smith, from the US Geological Survey (USGS). In addition to gold and silver, human waste also contains amounts of rare earth metals such as palladium and vanadium. "We're interested in collecting valuable metals that could be sold, including some of the more technologically important metals, such as vanadium and copper, that are in cell phones, computers and alloys," said Dr Smith.

What is in My Gut? This past fall we learned about a unique study, conducted at Stanford University, designed to contribute to the understanding of the human microbiome. This study also has a component not common to academic research — data is being returned to the participants. Intrigued, I contacted the principle investigator, Les Dethlefson, to learn more. Ernesto: Tell me about the Dynamics of Human Microbiota study. Les Dethlefsen: Since I joined the Relman Lab at Stanford, I’ve been looking at the human gut microbiota, focusing on what affects it and how it changes over time. We are very interested in the patterns that emerge. Ernesto: If you look at the popular press, it seems the microbiome is the new golden child of biological life sciences. Les: It is broader than that. The shift that, I think, would be good for us to make intellectually is to get rid of the “us vs. them” thinking, because we are symbiotic organisms.

Les: It’s along those lines. Candida albicans Microbiome sequence data. Three scientists on how the microbiome shapes our world. You are never really alone. On your skin, in your nose, in every inch of your personal space, you are accompanied by trillions of tiny organisms. Collectively, these microorganisms are known as the microbiome — the complex ecosystem of microbes that share and shape our world. Yet the quest to understand the microbiome is still in its infancy. What’s the role of the microbiome in human health and wellbeing? How are you affected by the small rainforest of microorganisms that live in every office building, or the collection of microbes in your gut?

Science is just beginning to figure that out — and the research will blow your mind. We invited three scientists to talk about what interested them most about the current microbiome research. Research into microbiomes seems to have hit critical mass in the last few years. Jonathan Eisen: I think there are five or six different related things all happening at the same time. We can now match people to their dogs based on the microbes they share. Inherited bugs may help weight loss. 7 November 2014Last updated at 03:45 ET Our genes influence whether we are fat or thin by shaping which types of microbes thrive in our gut, scientists say.

The discovery suggested healthy bacteria might one day be used to treat obesity, they told the journal Cell. By studying human twins, they found a type of bacteria that was not only associated with being thin but also seemed to run in families. Transplanting some of these microbes into mice slowed down weight gain. The study is the first to suggest certain types of naturally occurring gut bacteria are inherited. Analysing faecal samples from 416 UK twin pairs, the researchers found the abundance of Christensenellaceae bacteria was more similar in identical twins, who share exact DNA, than in fraternal twins, who are genetically just like ordinary siblings. The results also showed Christensenellaceae was more common in lean individuals. "It is very exciting data and a rapidly evolving field. Spirulina (dietary supplement)

Spirulina tablets Spirulina is a cyanobacterium that can be consumed by humans and other animals and is made primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima. Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium and poultry industries.[1] Spirulina thives at a pH around 8.5 + , which will get more alkaline, and a temperature around 86 deg. F. They are able to make their own food, and do not need a living energy or organic carbon source. In addition, spirulina have to have an ensemble of nutrients to thrive in a home aquarium or pond. Spirulina was a food source for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century; the harvest from Lake Texcoco and subsequent sale as cakes were described by one of Cortés' soldiers.[6][7] The Aztecs called it "tecuitlatl".[3] The U.S.

Supraorbital gland. Magellanic penguin Living in saltwater environments would naturally pose a large problem for penguins because the ingestion of saltwater would be detrimental to a penguin's health. Although penguins do not directly drink water, it is taken in when they engulf prey. As a result, saltwater enters their system and must be effectively excreted. The supraorbital gland has thus enabled the penguins' survival in such environments due to its water-filtering capability. The gland is located just above the eyes and surrounds a capillary in the head. The penguin excretes the salt byproduct as a brine through its bill. See also[edit] References[edit] External links[edit] We Are Our Bacteria. Silent, not deadly; how farts cure diseases | Dean Burnett | Science. It seems like it was only last week that a study by the University of Exeter revealed that smelling farts cures all manner of fatal illnesses, which lead to a lot of mediacoverage about the healing properties of nether-region emissions.

Some cynical types tried to combat this, metaphorically lifting the duvet from the growing cloud of excitement. Sure, the actual study was far more complex, and didn’t specifically reference farts, just hydrogen sulphide, a gas produced by natural bodily processes that gives flatulence its unpleasant odour. The study claimed that targeted delivery of compound called AP39 causes more hydrogen sulphide to be produced by an ailing cell, and hydrogen sulphide in small doses can prove protective to the cell’s mitochondria, which supplies the cell’s energy and is often damaged by diseases.

Hydrogen sulphide preventing this mitochondrial damage therefore can help cells resist the progression of many diseases. There were, of course, many negative consequences. Medicine’s dirty secret | Mosaic. This is how far a mother will go. Your daughter has been sick for more than four years with a severe autoimmune disease that has left her colon raw with bloody ulcers. After multiple doctors and drugs have failed, you are frantic for her to get better.

Then you send her disease into remission, virtually overnight, with a single act of love. “Who wouldn’t do that for their daughter?” You say. It’s like a miracle, you say. “An overnight magic wand.” You’ve agreed to do it again – twice – for strangers. There are more like you, men and women who have given their loved ones a remarkable reprieve from a group of chronic conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease. You insist on “Marion” as a pseudonym. Here are the specifics: you were the donor in a faecal microbiota transplant. Poo is a decidedly imperfect delivery vehicle for a medical therapy. Some doctors have likened the recoveries of desperately ill patients to those seen with anti-HIV protease inhibitors in the mid-1990s. Ergosterol. Ergosterol is occasionally reported analytically to occur in grasses such as rye[1] and alfalfa (including alfalfa sprouts), and in plant flowers such as hops.[2] However, such detection is usually assumed to be detection of fungal growth upon (and sometimes contamination of) the plant, as fungi form an integral part of the grass decay system.

This ergosterol assay technique may thus be used to assay grass, grain, and feed systems for fungal content.[3][4] Since ergosterol is the provitamin of vitamin D2, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation of fungus-bearing grass materials can result in vitamin D2 production,[5] but this is production of a form of vitamin D from fungus ergosterol (much as in UV radiation of yeasts and mushrooms) and is not true vitamin D production by the plant itself from UV light, a process that cannot happen. Vitamin D2 precursor[edit] Ergosterol is a biological precursor (a provitamin) to vitamin D2. Target for antifungal drugs[edit] Other uses[edit] Toxicity[edit] The Gut Microbiome Influences Whether Or Not You're Fat. Every time you have a meal, you’re eating not just for yourself, but for the hundred trillion bacteria that line your large intestine. This live-in colony of microbes, which together can weigh several pounds and consists of hundreds of individual species, is a digestion powerhouse, breaking food down into useful and nutritious components for us and for the microbes.

It’s only recently that new genomic techniques have opened the doors to detailed study of our gut microbiome, but understanding how it varies among different people is extremely important. Scientists suspect that the make-up of the inhabitants of our guts might help explain why some people develop metabolic disorders and others do not, and why some people put on weight while others stay thin. But assessing cause and effect when it comes to the microbiome is difficult. (MORE: E.T. on a Jovian Moon: A New Thriller Makes the Case) Having low diversity does not mean that someone is necessarily obese or overweight. Do Your Gut Bacteria Influence Your Metabolism? Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required. This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I am Ira Flatow. Did you know that trillions of bacteria live in your gut, happily dining on the food you eat?

Jeffrey Gordon is a microbiologist and director of the Center of Genome Science and Systems Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. JEFFREY GORDON: Pleasure to be able to talk with you. FLATOW: Thank you. GORDON: Well, we started out with twins, where one twin was obese and the other twin was lean. We did the same thing for the lean twin and waited. FLATOW: Wow. GORDON: Well, that's a good question.

The obese community was transformed so that the mouse that harbored it began to acquire the features of the lean community. FLATOW: So somehow then the micro biota, the bacteria were controlling metabolism? GORDON: That's right. FLATOW: And do we know the mechanism by how the metabolism was changed? GORDON: Yes. Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds : Shots - Health News. Illustration by Benjamin Arthur for NPR Could the microbes that inhabit our guts help explain that old idea of "gut feelings? " There's growing evidence that gut bacteria really might influence our minds. "I'm always by profession a skeptic," says Dr. Emeran Mayer, a professor of medicine and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"But I do believe that our gut microbes affect what goes on in our brains. " Mayer thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we're growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we're adults. "It opens up a completely new way of looking at brain function and health and disease," he says. So Mayer is working on just that, doing MRI scans to look at the brains of thousands of volunteers and then comparing brain structure to the types of bacteria in their guts. Mayer found that the connections between brain regions differed depending on which species of bacteria dominated a person's gut.

Could obesity be cured by injecting our guts with fecal bacteria from ancient mummies? It sounds outrageous, but King Tut's stomach bacteria might hold the cure for obesity. Researchers have recently discovered that modern use of antibiotics has wreaked havoc on the health and content of our gut bacteria. In turn, these changes have altered how our metabolisms work, possibly making us more prone to getting fat. Now scientists from the University of Oklahoma have proposed an unexpected solution: Why not replenish our gut flora using fecal bacteria from ancient mummies as a guide?

Since ancient mummies lived in an era before antibiotics, it's worth a look to see how their intestinal bacteria differed from modern gut flora, to discover what has changed. For the study, researchers not only performed DNA analysis on samples collected from the intestines of mummies found in North and South America, but they also hunted for preserved feces left in ancient cave soil, reports NineMSN. "[Ancient gut flora] do appear to be different," said Cecil Lewis of the University of Oklahoma. Gut Microbes and the Infant Brain: A Surprising Symbiosis.

By Micah Manary The ancient genes versus environment argument (i.e., nature versus nurture) about the development of the infant human brain has taken a swerve in a direction few thought possible. A recent paper by investigators from Sweden and Singapore reports on studies using a mouse model to demonstrate that the presence of the gut microbiota significantly influences the developing brain, influencing developmental pathways that affect both motor control and anxiety-related behaviors.

The implications for human development are certainly not yet realized, but could be profound. Our anxiety, motor control, and even cognitive pathways are implicated in this paper. Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on—and for what purposes we cannot yet say. The explosion of information about the microbiota of the human intestinal tract is leading to further exploration of the nature of these microbes, why they choose to live inside us, and how we benefit from their residence.

11 Surprising Facts About the Digestive System.