General microbiology and science, August 25, 2014

Microbial networks, proteomics of Fusobacterium, ants carrying pathogens into hospitals, and what’s in your lab freezer?

Bioinformatics

Sparse and compositionally robust inference of microbial ecological networks – Zachary D. Kurtz – arXiv at Cornel University Library

“Here, we present SPIEC-EASI (SParse InversE Covariance Estimation for Ecological Association Inference), a statistical method for the inference of microbial ecological interactions from metagenomic datasets that addresses both of these issues. “

Metabolomics / proteomics

Modelling the Emergent Dynamics and Major Metabolites of the Human Colonic Microbiota – Helen Kettle – Environmental Microbiology

“We present here a first attempt at modelling microbial dynamics in the human colon incorporating both uncertainty and adaptation. “

Proteomics of Fusobacterium nucleatum within a model developing oral microbial community  – Erik L. Hendrickson – MicrobiologyOpen

“About 1210 F. nucleatum proteins were detected in single species F. nucleatum control samples, 1192 in communities with P. gingivalis, 1224 with S. gordonii, and 1135 with all three species.”

Techniques

* (Preprint) Sources of PCR-induced distortions in high-throughput sequencing datasets – Justus M Kebschull, Anthony M Zador – bioRXiv

We examined the effects of bias, stochasticity, template switches and polymerase errors introduced during PCR on sequence representation in next-generation sequencing libraries. “

More microbes

* Ants as vectors of pathogenic microorganisms in a hospital in Sao Paulo county, Brazil – Heros J Máximo – BMC Research Notes

“Ants in hospitals may carry both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, and methods of controlling urban ants should be adopted and strictly adhered to, to minimize the risk of infection in hospital patients.”

Microbes in the news

What’s in your laboratory freezer? – Timothy J. Donahue – American Society of Microbiology

“I ask all microbiologists to make sure that you and your colleagues know what they have in the lab (freezer, refrigerator, store room, etc).”

* Hot Spring Bacteria Can Live Off Invisible Light Alone – Brian Stallard – Nature World News

“Researcher(sic) studying cyanobacteria in hot springs have discovered that the potentially harmful algae can live in near-darkness, absorbing far-red light and converting it into energy while releasing oxygen. “

Insect-borne bacteria destroy ancient Italian olive groves – Tom Kington – GulfNews

“The ancient olive groves of southern Italy, which provide much of the oil the country exports, are being destroyed by deadly, insect-borne bacterium that has already infected nearly half a million trees and has no known cure.”

Uncultured Bacteria (with video) – Serious Science

“Northeastern University Prof. Kim Lewis on great plate count anomaly, siderophores, and human microbiome”

#BacteriaHysteria

* How to Keep Bacteria Out of Your Child’s Lunchbox – FoodSafetyNews

“If possible, a child’s lunch should be stored in a refrigerator during school, but the lid should be left open so that cold air can better circulate and keep the food cold.”

* Chick-fil-A incorporates bacteria-killing copper into restrooms – The News Herald

“Seidel said that Chick-fil-A Owner and Operator Dallas Stoudenmire has realized his responsibility to keep customers bacteria free and is taking the right steps to do so.”

Science and publishing

Concerns Raised Online Linger – Kate Yandell – The Scientist

“The great majority of comments point out some kind of problem,” PubPeer moderators wrote in an e-mail to The Scientist.

Bik’s Picks

Eye implant developed at Stanford could lead to better glaucoma treatments – Bjorn Carey – Stanford News

“A tiny eye implant developed by Stephen Quake’s lab could pair with a smartphone to improve the way doctors measure and lower a patient’s eye pressure.”

Scientists grow an organ in an animal from cells created in lab – Science Daily

“The researchers have created a thymus — an organ next to the heart that produces immune cells known as T cells that are vital for guarding against disease.”

Mozzarella and cheddar are the perfect pizza toppers, according to science – Jenn Harris – LA Times

“Understanding the value of a pie spotted with perfectly crisp cheese, a group of scientists in New Zealand set out to find which cheeses create the perfect topping.”

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