General microbiology and science digest, October 6, 2014

Phages to reduce biofilms or monitor virus outbreaks, binning metagenomic reads, lots of microbes in the news. In Bik’s Picks, we have the 2014 Nobel Prize for Medicine and a giant ant nest.


More Microbes

Combined Use of Bacteriophage K and a Novel Bacteriophage To Reduce Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Formation – D. R. Alves – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“DRA88 was mixed with phage K to produce a high-titer mixture that showed strong lytic activity against a wide range of S. aureus isolates, including representatives of the major international MRSA clones and coagulase-negative Staphylococcus. “

Detection of Pathogenic Viruses in Sewage Provided Early Warnings of Hepatitis A Virus and Norovirus Outbreaks – Maria Hellmér – Applied and Environmental Microbiology

“ In this study, the presence of eight pathogenic viruses (norovirus, astrovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, Aichi virus, parechovirus, hepatitis A virus [HAV], and hepatitis E virus) was investigated in sewage to explore whether their identification could be used as an early warning of outbreaks. “


New software aims to improve sorting the microbiome – The Cherry Creek News

“MaxBin automates the binning of assembled metagenomic scaffolds using an expectation-maximization algorithm after the assembly of metagenomic sequencing reads,” says Singer, a chemist who also holds an appointment with Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division. “

Microbes in the news

* King’s launches British Gut – King’s College London

“British Gut – the UK’s largest open-source science project to understand the microbial diversity of the human gut – has been launched today by the Department of Twin Research at King’s College London, in collaboration with American Gut.”

Pay attention to your gut bacteria – Charles Wallace – Financial Times

“A number of organisations, such as Mr Leach’s own American Gut project and the commercial venture uBiome, offer an analysis of the bacteria in your gut for about $100. “

Home sweet microbiome – By Scott LaFee – UT San Diego

“The University of Chicago recently published findings from its Home Microbiome Project, which surveyed the domiciles of seven families: 18 people, three dogs and one cat.”

Medical superbugs: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria carried by more than a third of nursing home residents, study – ABC Australia

“Scientists from Monash University swabbed more than a 100 residents from four high-care facilities across the city.”

Special bacteria, 13000 cleaners to clean Dhaka – Rezaul Hoque – BDNews

“This special kind of microorganism will be sprayed on waste dumps. The spray has been developed in Thailand. We have introduced it here in Bangladesh with the aid of a Malaysian company.””

Yogurt bacteria could replace colonoscopies for cancer detection – Billy Steele – EnGadget

“MIT professor Sangeeta Bhatia is working on engineered bacteria that detects colorectal cancer. After the nanoparticles pass through the digestive system, a urine sample shows results on a reactive paper — similar to that of a pregnancy test.”

Science and Publishing

Adjudicating “misbehavior”: how can scientists respond when they don’t get fair credit? –  Janet D. Stemwedel – Scientific American

“Denying someone of fair credit for the contribution they made to a piece of research is not a good thing. But who can you turn to if someone does it to you? “

Twitter’s science stars, the sequel – John Travis – Science

“We listed. You tweeted (often in outrage). We listened (mostly). And now we’re doubling down on our recent list of Twitter’s 50 most popular researchers with a revision that names 100 of the most followed scientists on the social media platform. “

Bik’s Picks

2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: Cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain – Science Daily

“The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to John O´Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.”

Concrete Cast of Ant Nest Reveals Huge Underground Metropolis – Lisa Winter – IFL Science

“Through a process that took a few months, researchers made a cast of an anthill by pumping it full of concrete, allowing it to cure and dry, then excavating it out to explore the intricacies of the ant civilization. “

Tall tale: scientists unravel the genetics of human height – Will Dunham – Daily Mail

“Researchers on Sunday unveiled what they called the biggest such study to date, analyzing genome data from more than a quarter million people to identify nearly 700 genetic variants and more than 400 genome regions relating to height.”


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