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Appliance Roundup

July 15, 2011

Some of the world’s most forbidding environments occur right in our own homes, but microorganisms are finding a way to colonize them.



It came from the dishwasher. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Some organisms thrive in conditions we’d find forbidding, like nearly boiling hot springs. In the journal Fungal Biology, scientists report discovering two species of fungus living happily in another hostile environment: the rubber door seals of dishwashers. The organisms survive combinations of extreme heat and pH previously thought to be lethal. Since these kinds of fungi can cause disease, the researchers are investigating how they’re surviving these environments and how they might be eliminated.

In other home appliance science news, researchers at UC, San Diego and the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology have developed a small device suitable for televisions that can emit odors on cue. Electrical circuits can select from up to 10,000 odors stored in tiny compartments. But while they’ve shown that smell-o-vision is possible, the technology is still in its infancy. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.