A new testing methodology based on metagenomics could accelerate the diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks, allowing public health officials to identify the microbial culprits in less than a day. The methodology could also identify co-infections with secondary microbes, determine the specific variant of the pathogen, and help alert health officials to the presence of new or unusual pathogens.
Researchers from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering have found burning trash around the Taj Mahal is not only a major factor in the monument’s discoloration, it’s contributing to hundreds of premature deaths each year. The new study, published Oct. 7 in the journal Environmental Research Letters, builds on previous work that led local communities to ban burning of cow dung cakes, a common cooking fuel.
In ocean expanses where oxygen has vanished, newly discovered bacteria are diminishing additional life molecules. They help make virtual dead zones even deader. Now, a team led by the Georgia Institute of Technology has discovered members of a highly prolific bacteria group known as SAR11 living in the world’s largest oxygen minimum zone. The team has produced unambiguous evidence that the bacteria play a major role in denitrification.
When land managers in Florida or South Carolina or Georgia approve outdoor burns in their states, the resulting smoke doesn’t float to the state line and stop. Yet there’s no unified way to track all of this burning across the Southeast and account for the resulting impacts on air quality and residents’ health. Researcher Talat Odman has just secured funding to help address the problem
Two School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Ph.D. students have secured National Science Foundation fellowships, some of the most competitive and prestigious funding for the nation’s graduate students. Georgene Geary and Laura Mast join a long list of the brightest and most promising of the School’s students to win the funding. This year, NSF chose to support fewer than one in eight applicants.
Development of a dynamic model for microbial populations in healthy lakes could help scientists understand what’s wrong with sick lakes, prescribe cures and predict what may happen as environmental conditions change. Those are among the benefits expected from an ambitious project to model the interactions of some 18,000 species in a well-studied Wisconsin lake.
What’s that old saying about being in the right place at the right time? For Ph.D. student Aaron Bivins, news last week that he has won a Fulbright Scholarship means he’ll get to experience the reality of that maxim.
While many Georgia Tech students enjoyed some time away from classes during Spring Break, students in Joe Brown's "Environmental Technology in the Developing World" class were working to improve the lives of Bolivians. Join us on their journey, through the students' own words and pictures.
The human microbiome, a diverse collection of microorganisms living inside us and on our skin, has attracted considerable attention for its role in a broad range of human health issues. Now, researchers are discovering that the built environment also has a microbiome, which includes a community of potentially-pathogenic bacteria living inside water supply pipes. A paper published March 11 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology describes microbial communities found in shower hoses at a major U.S. hospital. The study documented bacteria – and related genes – using cutting-edge metagenomic techniques that allow the characterization of organisms that cannot be detected using traditional culture-based microbiology assays.
Acidic sulfur emissions from power plants have been rapidly declining over the past decade, and the neutralizing base – ammonia – is emitted from a different source, and has not declined. This has led many atmospheric scientists to assume that the ambient sulfate particles we all breathe are becoming less acidic and therefore less toxic. But a new study shows this intuitive expectation hasn’t happened, at least not in the Southeast United States, where the remaining sulfate particles appear to be as acidic as ever.