General microbiology and science, September 29, 2014

Metabolomics, metagenomics, OTU binning, DNA extraction for metagenomics, RNAseq, life without water, microbes and art, and Bik’s Picks.

Metabolomics

A Peptide-Based Method for 13C Metabolic Flux Analysis in Microbial Communities – Amit Ghosh – PLOS Computational Biology

“Here we propose a new type of 13C MFA that infers fluxes based on peptide labeling, instead of amino acid labeling. “

Metabolic fingerprint of dimethyl sulfone (DMSO2) in microbial-mammalian co-metabolism – Xuan He and Carolyn Marie Slupsky – Journal of Proteome Research

“Here, we review a metabolic pathway that integrates the microbial catabolism of methionine with mammalian metabolism of methanethiol (MT), dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)”

Metagenomics

Metagenomic epidemiology: a new frontier – Stephen S Francis, Lee W Riley – Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

“In this commentary we hope to briefly summarise studies into the bacterial and viral microbiome and how this shifting paradigm affects epidemiology.“

Phages and viruses

Viral attack exacerbates the susceptibility of a bloom-forming alga to ocean acidification – Shanwen Chen – Global Change Biology

“..when the harmful bloom alga Phaeocystis globosa is infected with viruses under future ocean conditions, its photosynthetic performance further decreased and cells became more susceptible to stressful light levels..”

Ecology / Bioinformatics

Limits to robustness and reproducibility in the demarcation of operational taxonomic units – Thomas S. B. Schmidt – Environmental Microbiology

“Using a global data set of 887 870 bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequences, we objectively quantified biases introduced by several widely employed sequence clustering algorithms. “

Techniques

* DNA extraction protocols cause differences in 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing efficiency but not in community profile composition or structure – Benjamin E. R. Rubin – MicrobiologyOpen

“While bacterial community composition recovered using Illumina 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was not detectably biased by any method, the quantity of bacterial DNA varied drastically, reducing the number of samples that could be amplified and sequenced. “

Protocols for metagenomic DNA extraction and Illumina amplicon library preparation for faecal and swab samples – A.-T. E. Vo1 and J. A. Jedlicka – Molecular Ecology Resources

“We developed and tested a novel metagenomic DNA extraction approach using solid phase reversible immobilization (SPRI) beads on Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) samples stored in RNAlater.”

Caught in the act: RNA-Seq provides novel insights into mRNA degradation – Jan Gerwig and Jörg Stülke – Molecular Microbiology

“In MolecularMicrobiology, Liu et al. (2014) have analysed RNA processing by polynucleotide phosphorylase, the major 3′–5′ exonuclease in Bacillus subtilis.”

3D genome reconstruction from chromosomal contacts – Annick Lesne – Nature Methods

“We propose a two-step algorithm, ShRec3D, and assess its accuracy using both in silico data and human genome-wide 3C (Hi-C) data.”

More microbiology

Multiplication of microbes below 0.690 water activity: implications for terrestrial and extraterrestrial life – Andrew Stevenson – Environmental Microbiology

“We discuss water activity in relation to the limits of Earth’s present-day biosphere; the possibility of microbial multiplication by utilizing water from thin, aqueous films or non-liquid sources;”

Microbes in the News

Scientists sniffing out the Western allergy epidemic – BBC News

“Both families gamely agreed to provide bacterial swabs of their skin, guts and even their homes in the hope they might offer clues about why they suffer from allergies.”

Study looks at bacteria on a plane – CNN Wire

“A study by Auburn University looked at how long two potentially deadly bacteria, e-coli and MRSA, can live on airline surfaces. They checked things like toilet handles, tray tables and seat pockets.”

Bacteria in wine may bring health benefits – LiveScience – Agata Blaszczak Boxe

“In the study, researchers in Spain isolated 11 strains of bacteria from wine, including strains of Lactobacillus, which are also found in yogurt, as well as Oenococcus and Pediococcus bacteria, which are associated with the wine-making process.”

A gut feeling: Bacteria like that found in yoghurt may have helped shape our personalities and made us who we are – Alex Finnis – Daily Mail UK

“Bacteria in our stomachs can affect our brain chemistry, scientists have discovered – which means eating yoghurt could help us be happier.

Science and Art

Should Silicon Valley Hire Microbes? – Glenn McDonald – Discovery

“It’s an art installation slated to launch October 21 at San Francisco’s Modernism Gallery. The event will feature the official certification of approximately 100 billion bacteria in areas including product development and finance. “

Octopus bacteria lights up this installation – Liat Clark – Wired UK

“A designer has harvested bacteria from an octopus to create a bioluminescent installation that lights up when it is moved.”

Photographer Immerses His Film in Live Bacteria for Years to Create Unique Portraits – Gannon Burgett – PetaPixel

“Over the course of a few weeks, months or years, the microbes destabilize and eat away at the silver halide particles in the emulsion.”

Bik’s Picks

Dolphins are attracted to magnets: Add dolphins to the list of magnetosensitive animals, French researchers say – Science Daily

“Dolphins are indeed sensitive to magnetic stimuli, as they behave differently when swimming near magnetized objects.”

Science explains why volcanoes are erupting all over the place right now – Robin Wylie – Washington Post

“The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ecuador and Mexico right now. “

Scientists find tiny, poisonous new mystery frog – Andrew Griffin – Independent

“Scientists have discovered a new species of poison dart frog, small enough to fit on a fingernail but still bearing the toxic poison that gives the frogs their name.”

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