Tue, 11/21/2017 - 8:40pm

microbes

Cicada Secrets

Researchers work to unlock the secrets of summer’s favorite insect — the cicada. Cicada wings kill microbes on contact, and the design could hold engineering secrets for nanotechnology scientists.

Dirt On Dirt

What’s in dirt anyway?

Admit it.

After sinking the shovel or trowel into the ground to plant something, you end up looking at the dirt that is pulled up and asking yourself, “Just what is in dirt that helps plants to grow?”

We’ve all asked the question at some point. So, to keep things really simple, the answer is that there is a lot of 'stuff' in dirt — including rocks, sand, clay and organic matter. The United States Environmental Protection Agency says the average soil sample is 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air, and 5% organic matter.

Rapid Water Test

The greatest danger for beachgoers may be millions of microbes also swimming in the water. While many are there naturally, stormwater runoff and sewage system failures can overwhelm coastal waters. One percent of NC's beaches were closed for short times in 2012 because of microbial contaminants. A marine biologist has now developed a rapid water test to keep the public safe.