July 27, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

Saturday and Sunday’s digests were packed full of great articles, which means the week is off to a slower start than usual. We’ve got two environmentally focused preprints that I am super excited about, a paper demonstrating how microbiota can be dosed in order to help mice mitigate intestinal cancer and inflammation, and a paper focused on the eco-thermodynamics of methanogenic bioprocesses. Enjoy!

Animal experiments

Microbiota from alginate oligosaccharide-dosed mice successfully mitigated small intestinal mucositis – Zhang et al. – Microbiome

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: Distinct microbial communities along the chronic oil pollution continuum of the Persian Gulf converge with oil spill accidents – Somee et al. – BioRxiv

Catabolism and interactions of uncultured organisms shaped by eco-thermodynamics in methanogenic bioprocesses – Nobu et al. – Microbiome

Preprint: Freshwater monitoring by nanopore sequencing – Urban et al. – bioRxiv

July 13, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA!

Included is a wide range of microbial ecology articles focused on everything from the human microbiome to soil microbial fuel cells. I want to give a special highlight to the article about how the indoor microbial community changes in response to bed bug infestations. This study incorporates a few of my favorite disciplines including entomology, public health, the built environment, as well as microbiology. If you’re interested in learning more about bed bugs, I’ll also recommend one my favorite reads from a few years ago: Infested: How the bed bug infiltrated our bedrooms and took over the world by Brooke Borel.

Events and jobs

In my last microbiome digest, I gave a special plug for the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP). NSURP is a community-driven initiative to create rewarding remote summer research opportunities for BIPOC undergraduate students in the microbial sciences. They have already paired over 140 students with summer research opportunities, but they still need mentors for remaining student applicants. Please apply and share widely!

General microbiome

The beta-diversity of Siganus fuscescens-associated microbial communities from different habitats increases with body weight – Wu et al. – Frontiers in Microbiology

Human gut microbiome

Metagenome-wide association analysis identifies microbial determinants of post-antibiotic ecological recovery in the gut – Chng et al. – Nature Ecology & Evolution

The gut microbiome during acute lifestyle transition – Devkota – Nature Medicine

Review: Challenges and emerging systems biology approaches to discover how the human gut microbiome impact host physiology – Wian and Ho – Biophysical Reviews

Animal experiments

The gut and feed residue microbiota changing during the rearing of Hermetia illucens larvae – Cifuentes et al. – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Animal microbiome

Effect of introduced parasites on the survival and microbiota of nestling cactus finches (Geospiza scandens) in the Galápagos Islands – Addesso et al. – Journal of Ornithology

Direct comparison of fecal and gut microbiota in the Blue Mussel (Mytilus edulis) discourages fecal sampling as a proxy for resident gut community – Griffin et al. – Microbial Ecology

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Variable microbial communities in the non-hydrothermal sediments of the Mid-Okinawa trough – Cao et al. – Geomicrobiology Journal

Review: Microbial communities from arid environments on a global scale. A systematic review – Vásquez-Dean et al. – Biological Research

Unravelling metabolism and microbial community of a phytobed co-planted with Typha angustifolia and Ipomoea aquatica for biodegradation of doxylamine from wastewater – Xiong et al. – Journal of Hazardous Materials

Built environment

Bed bugs shape the indoor microbial community composition of infested homes – Kakumanu et al. – Science of the Total Environment

Effect of sono-thermal pre-treatment over methane production, specific activities and the microbial community of sludge anaerobic digesters – Neumann et al. – Waste and Biomass Valorization

Effects of anode materials on the performance and anode microbial community of soil microbial fuel cell – Yu et al. – Journal of Hazardous Material


Review: Targeted microbiome depletion – Du Toit – Nature Reviews Microbiology

June 18, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

Today’s digest is unintentionally themed around change. Included is an article on the metabolic versatility of Salmonella enterica and another on the genetic diversification of Escherichia coli. If you’re more interested in the big picture, there is also an article about the evolution of ecological niches in plant-associated microbes as well as an article about the impacts of global change on soil microbial diversity and functionality.

Here’s to hoping that we are just as resilient as the microbes we study!

Events and jobs

A special plug for the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP). NSURP is a community-driven initiative to create rewarding remote summer research opportunities for BIPOC undergraduate students in the microbial sciences. They are actively recruiting mentors and students for this summer, with the hope to match pairs by June 22nd.

General microbiome

Salmonella finds a way: Metabolic versatility of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in diverse host environments – Taylor and Winter – PLOS Pathogens

Phylogenetic background and habitat drive the genetic diversification of Escherichia coli – Touchon et al. – PLOS Genetics

Human skin microbiome

The microbiome of diabetic foot ulcers: a comparison of swab and tissue biopsy wound sampling techniques using 16S rRNA gene sequencing – Travis et al. – BMC Microbiology

Animal experiments

MAPK-dependent hormonal signaling plasticity contributes to overcoming Bacillus thuringiensis toxin action in an insect host – Guo et al. – Nature Communications

Investigation of the effects of probiotic, Bacillus subtilis on stress reactions in laying hens using infrared thermography – Soroko and Zaborski – PLOS ONE

Gut carriage of antimicrobial resistance genes in women exposed to small-scale poultry farms in rural Uganda: A feasibility study – Weil et al. – PLOS ONE

Animal microbiome

Anti-microbial activity of whole blood and plasma collected from Anna’s Hummingbirds (Calypte anna) against three different microbes – DeRogatis et al. – PLOS ONE

Bacteriophages specific to Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli exist in goat feces and associated environments on an organic produce farm in Northern California, USA – Lennon et al. – PLOS ONE

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Survival of Escherichia coli O157 in autoclaved and natural sandy soil mesocosms – Baker et al. – PLOS ONE

Geometry and evolution of the ecological niche in plant-associated microbes – Chaloner et al. – Nature Communications

Meta-analysis of the impacts of global change factors on soil microbial diversity and functionality – Zhou et al. – Nature Communications

Food microbiology

Neighboring plants divergently modulate effects of loss-of-function in maize mycorrhizal phosphate uptake on host physiology and root fungal microbiota – Fabiańska et al. – PLOS ONE

Phages and viruses

Comparative analysis of viruses in four bee species collected from agricultural, urban, and natural landscapes – Olgun et al. – PLOS ONE


bigPint: A Bioconductor visualization package that makes big data pint-sized – Rutter and Cook – PLOS Computational Biology


Subduing the influence of PCR inhibitors on amplifying aged, degraded, and low copy number DNA: PCR enhancer cocktail-p and rescue PCR – Kemp et al. – PLOS ONE

Click-to-Capture: A method for enriching viable Staphylococcus aureus using bio-orthogonal labeling of surface proteins – Shalizi et al. – PLOS ONE

May 20, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA!

Television and movies are a welcome distraction from the current global pandemic. For this digest, I’d like to highlight two articles. The article by Sajjad et al. investigates the possibility of resurrection of ancient microbes present in the natural frozen world and is a perfect pair for the monster-of-the-week X-Files episode “Ice.” The second highlighted article focuses on the microbiome present on two ancient Slavonic parchment codices and how this data can be used to provide additional historical context. Maybe Harrison Ford can team up with Piñar et al. to create a fourth movie in the Indiana Jones Franchise based on their work?

Happy reading, everyone!

General microbiome

Effect of a novel synbiotic on Streptococcus mutans – Bijle et al. – Nature Scientific Reports

Culturomics‐based genomics sheds light on the ecology of the new haloarchaeal genus Halosegnis – Durán‐Viseras et al. – Environmental Microbiology

Review: Ecological features of the persistence of Vibrio cholerae: retrospective analysis and actual state of the problem – Menshikova et al. – Jounral of microbiology, epidemiology, and immunobiology

Metagenome-assembled genomes reveal unique metabolic adaptations of a basal marine Thaumarchaeota lineage – Reji and Francis – ISME Journal

Homoplastic single nucleotide polymorphisms contributed to phenotypic diversity in Mycobacterium tuberculosis – Tantivitayakul et al. – Nature Scientific Reports

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Impacts of forest conversion to plantations on the soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, and microbial communities – Wang et al. – Soil Biology and Biochemistry

Water and extremophile microbiome

Novel yeast taxa from the cold: description of Cryolevonia giraudoae sp. nov. and Camptobasidium gelus sp. nov. – de Garcia et al. – International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology

Remote sensing reveals Antarctic green snow algae as important terrestrial carbon sink – Gray et al. – Nature Communications

Review: Resurrection of inactive microbes and resistome present in the natural frozen world: Reality or myth? – Sajjad et al. – Science of the Total Environment

Built environment

Decoding the biological information contained in two ancient Slavonic parchment codices: an added historical value – Piñar et al. – Environmental Microbiology


Preprint: Efficiently processing amplicon sequencing data for microbial ecology with dadasnake, a DADA2 implementation in Snakemake – Weißbecker et al. – bioRxiv


Editorial: Visualizing the invisible: class excursions to ignite children’s enthusiasm for microbes – McGenity et al. – Microbial Biotechnology

Discovery of thermophilic Bacillales using reduced-representation genotyping for identification – Talamantes-Becerra et al. – BMC Microbiology

April 26, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA!

Today’s digest includes several reviews, numerous host-microbiome studies, a wide variety of environmental microbiome studies, and a new book focused on Emerging Technologies in Environmental Bioremediation.

I also wanted to highlight the virtual Fermentation Mini-Seminars offered by the Applied Ecology Department at my alma mater, NC State University. During the first seminar of the series I learned about the Wild Sourdough Project, which is a community-science/citizen-science project where participants can submit observational data about their sourdough culture. If you’re missing the lab, this might be the perfect project for you!

Virtual Events

NCSU Fermentation Mini-Seminars offered every Thursday at 4pm EST from April through August

General microbiome

Special Issue: Stochasticity in microbiology: managing unpredictability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals – De Vrieze et al. – Microbial Biotechnology

Review: Biofilm matrixome: Extracellular components in structured microbial communities – Karygianni et al. – Trends in Microbiology

Review: Microbial symbiosis: A network towards biomethanation – Saha et al. – Trends in Microbiology

Multi-site human microbiome

Microbiota in cerebrovascular disease: A key player and future therapeutic target – Tonomura et al. – Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism

Review: Role of microbiome and antibiotics in autoimmune diseases – Vangoitsenhoven and Cresci – Nutrition in Clinical Practice

Human skin microbiome

Isolation and characterization of diverse microbial representatives from the human skin microbiome – Timm et al. – BMC Microbiology

Human gut microbiome

Altered gut microbial profile is associated with abnormal metabolism activity of Autism Spectrum Disorder – Dan et al. – Gut Microbes

Seasonal variation in gut microbiota composition: cross-sectional evidence from Ukrainian population – Koliada et al. – BMC Microbiology

Gut microbiome reveals specific dysbiosis in primary osteoporosis – Xu et al. – Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology

Animal experiments

The clinical drug Ebselen attenuates inflammation and promotes microbiome recovery in mice after antibiotic treatment for CDI – Garland et al. – Cell Reports Medicine

Effect of oxytetracycline treatment on the gastrointestinal microbiome of critically endangered white abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) treated for withering syndrome – Parker-Graham et al. – Aquaculture

Effects of hydrolyzed fish protein and autolyzed yeast as substitutes of fishmeal in the gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) diet, on fish intestinal microbiome – Rimoldi et al. – BMC Veterinary Research

Animal microbiome

(My microbiome) would walk 10,000 miles: Maintenance and turnover of microbial communities in introduced dung beetles – Parker et al. – Invertebrate Microbiology

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Nocardiopsis deserti sp. nov., isolated from a high altitude Atacama Desert soil – Asem et al. – International Journal of Systemic and Evolutionary Microbiology

Steel slag amendment impacts on soil microbial communities and activities of rice (Oryza sativa L.) – Das et al. – Scientific Reports

Peat properties, dominant vegetation type and microbial community structure in a tropical peatland – Girkin et al. – Wetlands

Integrating transcriptomics and metabolomics to studies key metabolism, pathways and candidate genes associated with drought-tolerance in Carthamus tinctorius L. under drought stress – Wei et al. – Industrial Crops and Products

Dynamics of ammonia oxidizers and denitrifiers in response to compost addition in black soil, Northeast China – Yang et al. – PeerJ

Water and extremophile microbiome

Impacts of an eruption on cold-seep microbial and faunal dynamics at a mud volcano – Girard et al. – Frontiers in Marine Science

Unraveling heterogeneity of coral microbiome assemblages in tropical and subtropical corals in the South China Sea – Gong et al. – Microorganisms

Anode potential-dependent protection of electroactive biofilms against metal ion shock via regulating extracellular polymeric substances – Hou et al. – Water Research

Microbial ecology and biogeochemistry of hypersaline sediments in Orca Basin – Nigro et al. – PLOS One

Near streambed flow shapes microbial guilds within and across trophic levels in fluvial biofilms – Risse-Buhl et al. – Limnology and Oceanography

Heterotrophic sulfide-oxidizing nitrate-reducing bacteria enables the high performance of integrated autotrophic-heterotrophic denitrification (IAHD) process under high sulfide loading – Zhang et al. – Water Research

Built environment (subways, indoor surfaces)

Ecological processes affecting long-term eukaryote and prokaryote biofilm persistence in nitrogen removal from sewage – Angell et al. – Genes

Long-term microbial community dynamics in a pilot-scale gas sparged anaerobic membrane bioreactor treating municipal wastewater under seasonal variations – Kannan et al. – Bioresource Technology

Book: Emerging Technologies in Environmental Bioremediation – Edited by Shah et al.

Food microbiology

How processing methods affect the microbial community composition in a cereal-based fermented beverage – Phiri et al. – LWT – Food Science and Technology

High-throughput sequencing and metabolomics reveal differences in bacterial diversity and metabolites between red and white sufu – Tang et al. – Frontiers in Microbiology

April 16, 2020

Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA! I’ve been following Microbiome Digest for several years, but this is my first contribution. Although my research is in a different subject area now, my PhD work focused on host-associated microbiota. That topic still has a special place in my heart, so below you’ll find research articles focused on the microbiota of calves, honey bees, dogs, giant clams, mosquitos, and bats! If host-associated microbiota isn’t your topic of interest, I’ve also included other articles so you can learn “WhatsGNU” in microbiology!

General microbiome

Review: A benchmark of algorithms for the analysis of pooled CRISPR screens – Bodapati et al. – Genome Biology

Animal experiments

Comparison of the ruminal and fecal microbiotas in beef calves supplemented or not with concentrate – Lourenco et al. – PLOS One

The trisaccharide melezitose impacts honey bees and their intestinal microbiota – Seeburger – PLOS One

Fecal shedding of Salmonella spp., Clostridium perfringens, and Clostridioides difficile in dogs fed raw meat-based diets in Brazil and their owners’ motivation – Viegas et al. – PLOS One

Mechanistic molecular responses of the giant clam Tridacna crocea to Vibrio coralliilyticus challenge – Xu et al. – PLOS One

Animal microbiome

Metagenomic analysis of Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes from Grenada, West Indies – Ramos-Nino et al. – PLOS One

Detection of novel coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar – Valitutto et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Plant microbiome analysis after Metarhizium amendment reveals increases in abundance of plant growth-promoting organisms and maintenance of disease-suppressive soil – Barelli et al. – PLOS One

The genome evolution and domestication of tropical fruit mango – Wang et al. – Genome Biology

Water and extremophile microbiome

Environmental control on the distribution of metabolic strategies of benthic microbial mats in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica – Dillion et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Experimentally-validated correlation analysis reveals new anaerobic methane oxidation partnerships with consortium-level heterogeneity in diazotrophy – Metcalfe et al. – bioRxiv

Built environment

A comparative analysis of drinking water employing metagenomics -Brumfield et al. – PLOS One

Prevalence and pollution characteristics of antibiotic resistant genes in one high anthropogenically-impacted river – Li and Zhang – PLOS One

Longitudinal survey of microbiome associated with particulate matter in a megacity – Qin et al. – Genome Biology

Phages and viruses

Ozone efficacy for the control of airborne viruses: Bacteriophage and norovirus models – Dubuis et al. – PLOS One


Decode-seq: a practical approach to improve differential gene expression analysis – Li et al. – Genome Biology

WhatsGNU: a tool for identifying proteomic novelty – Moustafa and Planet – Genome Biology

A Zipf-plot based normalization method for high-throughput RNA-seq data – Wang – PLOS One