July 14, 2022

Today’s digest has multiple articles on statistical and bioinformatic techniques! Also included is a job ad from my research team, so check it out if you’re interested in gaining geomicrobiology research experience at a national laboratory.

Events and jobs

Our geomicrobiology research group at the National Energy Technology Lab – Pittsburgh is looking for a technician/researcher. Exact responsibilities are somewhat flexible depending on interest and education-level; we are accepting applications from current students at all levels as well as postdocs.

General microbiome

Mycobacteriophages: From Petri dish to patient – Hatfull – PLOS Pathogens

Animal microbiome

Reconstructing the ecosystem context of a species: Honey-borne DNA reveals the roles of the honeybee – Wirta et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Patterns of microbial communities were shaped by bioavailable P along the elevation gradient of Shergyla Mountain, as determined by analysis of phospholipid fatty acids – Ba et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Soil chemistry and soil history significantly structure oomycete communities in Brassicaceae crop rotations – Blakney et al. – bioRxiv

Community succession and straw degradation characteristics using a microbial decomposer at low temperature – Zhang et al. – PLOS One

Built Environment

Indoor air microbial load, antibiotic susceptibility profiles of bacteria, and associated factors in different wards of Arba Minch General Hospital, southern Ethiopia – Kayta et al. – PLOS One


moreThanANOVA: A user-friendly Shiny/R application for exploring and comparing data with interactive visualization – Jiang et al. – PLOS One

Preparation of biological monolayers for producing high-resolution scanning electron micrographs – Mentor et al. – PLOS One

The accuracy of absolute differential abundance analysis from relative count data – Roche & Mukherjee – PLOS Computational Biology

AC-PCoA: Adjustment for confounding factors using principal coordinate analysis – Wang et al. – PLOS Computational Biology

Microbes in the news

The Art of Science: Students Participate in University’s First-Ever Bio-Art Class – Bernardi – Syracuse University News

June 3, 2022

Happy Friday!

Today’s digest has articles on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, a new R package to extract network backbones, and a class of novel antibiotics that targets a Mycobacterium tuberculosis PE-PGRS protein. There also preprints on biofilm winkling in Bacillus subtilis, the dental calculus microbiome, and the relationship between eukaryotic genomes and ocean plankton in a global metagenomic dataset.


Next week is ASM Microbe! I’ll be there, wearing a KN-95 and clutching a box of rapid tests. Feel free to comment or reach out if you’re also attending.


Oro-facial mucocutaneous manifestations of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19): A systematic review – Fakhruddin et al. – PLOS ONE

Preprint: The salivary and nasopharyngeal microbiomes are associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease severity – Kim et al. – bioRxiv

Determinants of the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy spectrum – Piltch-Loeb et al. – PLOS ONE

General microbiome

Preprint: Fatty acid synthesis knockdown promotes biofilm wrinkling and inhibits sporulation in Bacillus subtilis – Arjes et al. – bioRxiv

Association of Strongyloides stercoralis infection and type 2 diabetes mellitus in northeastern Thailand: Impact on diabetic complication-related renal biochemical parameters – Yingklang et al. – PLOS ONE

Analysis of secondary metabolite gene clusters and chitin biosynthesis pathways of Monascus purpureus with high production of pigment and citrinin based on whole-genome sequencing – Zhang et al. – PLOS ONE

Human respiratory microbiome

A novel class of antimicrobial drugs selectively targets a Mycobacterium tuberculosis PE-PGRS protein – Seo et al. – PLOS Biology

Human oral microbiome

Preprint: Assessing the influence of the Mediterranean diet on dental calculus microbiome composition: a pilot study – Innocenti et al. – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome

Lactobacillus plantarum improves LPS-induced Caco2 cell line intestinal barrier damage via cyclic AMP-PKA signaling – Wei et al. – PLOS ONE

Water and extremophile microbiome (sea, rivers, lakes, glaciers, permafrost, high-salt)

Preprint: Eukaryotic genomes from a global metagenomic dataset illuminate trophic modes and biogeography of ocean plankton – Alexander et al. – bioRxiv


backbone: An R package to extract network backbones – Neal – PLOS ONE

May 28, 2022


Recently, Science released a special issue about microbiomes, with the following articles:

Human and General Microbiome  

Widespread stop-codon recoding in bacteriophages may regulate translation of lytic genes – Adair L Borges – Nature Microbiology

Characteristics of the gut microbiota in women with premenstrual symptoms: A cross-sectional study – Takashi Takeda – PloS ONE

Dynamic colonization of gut microbiota and its influencing factors among the breast-feeding infants during the first two years of life – Ping Li – Journal of Microbiology

Metabolomics analysis reveals molecular linkages for the impact of vitamin D on childhood allergic airway diseases – Yu-Ho Chang – Pediatric Allergy and Immunology

Lysophosphatidylserines derived from microbiota in Crohn’s disease elicit pathological Th1 response – Yuriko Otake-Kasamoto – Journal of Experimental Medicine 

Tumor tissue-specific bacterial biomarker panel for colorectal cancer: Bacteroides massiliensis, Alistipes species, Alistipes onderdonkii, Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum, Corynebacterium appendicis – Rizwana Hasan – Archives of Microbiology

Lung Microbiota of Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients are Associated with Non-Resolving Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome – Robert F J Kullberg – American Journal of Respiratory and Critical care Medicine

Altered Gut Microbiome in Patients With Dermatomyositis – Sangmee Sharon Bae – ACR Open Rheumatology

Review: Importance of crosstalk between the microbiota and the neuroimmune system for tissue homeostasis – Kunyu Li – Clinical & Translational Immunology

Review: Dietary influences on symptomatic and non-symptomatic toxicities during cancer treatment: A narrative review – Alan J Kim – Cancer Treatment Reviews

Review: How can patients with Clostridioides difficile infection on concomitant antibiotic treatment be best managed? – Fidelma Fitzpatrick – The Lancet. Infectious Diseases

Model Animal Microbiome

Protocol: Mouse Model to Study Salmonella-Induced Colitis – Katrin Ehrhardt – Methods in Molecular Biology

Amino acid-balanced diets improved DSS-induced colitis by alleviating inflammation and regulating gut microbiota – Sen Li – European Journal of Nutrition

Excess growth hormone alters the male mouse gut microbiome in an age-dependent manner – Elizabeth A Jensen – Endocrinology

Non-Model Animal Microbiome

Metagenomic Analysis of the Gastrointestinal Microbiota of Gadus morhua callarias L. Originating from a Chemical Munition Dump Site – Wojciech Wilczynski – Toxics

Bacterial Symbionts in Ceratitis capitata – Alessia Cappelli – Insects

Egg microbiota is the starting point of hatchling gut microbiota in the endangered yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle – Ana Sofia Carranco – Molecular Ecology

Unveiling the egg microbiota of the loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta in nesting beaches of the Mediterranean Sea – Luca Vecchioni – PloS ONE

Comparative Analyses of Scylla olivacea Gut Microbiota Composition and Function Suggest the Capacity for Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Biosynthesis – Nyok-Sean Lau – Microbial Ecology

Global landscape of gut microbiome diversity and antibiotic resistomes across vertebrates – Guangping Huang – The Science of the Total Environment

Beneficial Microbes and Compounds

Review: Functional fermented probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics from non-dairy products: A perspective from nutraceutical – Dharmendra Kumar – Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Bifidobacterium longum CCFM752 prevented hypertension and aortic lesion, improved antioxidative ability, and regulated the gut microbiome in spontaneously hypertensive rats – Wenwei Lu – Food & Function

Intestinal Flora Mediates Antiobesity Effect of Rutin in High-Fat-Diet Mice – Xu Yan – Molecular Nutrition & Food Research

Multi-Probiotics ameliorate Major depressive disorder and accompanying gastrointestinal syndromes via serotonergic system regulation – Peijun Tian – Journal of Advanced Research

Butyrate, a postbiotic of intestinal bacteria, affects pancreatic cancer and gemcitabine response in in vitro and in vivo models – Concetta Panebianco – Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy

Plant and Fungi Microbiome

Deciphering core phyllomicrobiome assemblage on rice genotypes grown in contrasting agroclimatic zones: implications for phyllomicrobiome engineering against blast disease – Kuleshwar Prasad Sahu – Environmental Microbiome

Fusarium fruiting body microbiome member Pantoea agglomerans inhibits fungal pathogenesis by targeting lipid rafts – Sunde Xu – Nature Microbiology

Other studies

Indoor microbiome, microbial and plant metabolites, chemical compounds and asthma symptoms in junior high school students: a multicentre association study in Malaysia – Yu Sun – The European Respiratory Journal

Comparative Analysis of Metagenomics and Metataxonomics for the Characterization of Vermicompost Microbiomes – Marcos Pérez-Losada – Frontiers in Microbiology

April 8, 2022

Good morning! Today’s microbiome digest is brought to you by mild insomnia induced by a mid-afternoon coffee. It includes two food related studies, one on pathogenic E. coli found in ready-to-eat foods and the other focused on a antifungal lipopeptide produced by B. velezensis isolated from honey, and an an article focused on a new approach for processing frozen lung and lavage samples for use in microbiome studies. Also included are several articles focused on the gut microbiome, and several preprints focused on soil microbiome studies. Finally, I want to highlight a piece that details the positive outcomes associated with the National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP). Registration for this year’s program is still open until April 15th, and the organizers are looking for both mentors, mentees, and donors!

Pregnancy and early life

Group B Streptococcus colonization at delivery is associated with maternal peripartum infection – Brigtsen et al. – PLOS ONE

Human gut microbiome

Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis and microbiome profile of patients in a referral gastrointestinal diseases centre in the Sudan – Elmagzoub et al. – PLOS ONE

Animal experiments

Vertical transmission of attaching and invasive E. coli from the dam to neonatal mice predisposes to more severe colitis following exposure to a colitic insult later in life – Brand et al. – PLOS ONE

Sex differences in the fecal microbiome and hippocampal glial morphology following diet and antibiotic treatment – Saxena et al. – PLOS ONE

Animal microbiome

Preprint: Anthropogenic disturbance impacts gut microbiome homeostasis in a Malagasy primate – Wasimuddin et al. – bioRxiv

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Preprint: Microclimate is a strong predictor of the native and invasive plant-associated soil microbiota on San Cristóbal Island, Galápagos archipelago – Schoenborn et al. bioRxiv

Preprint: The activity and functions of soil microbial communities in the Finnish sub-Arctic vary across vegetation types – Vitamaki et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Tracing carbon metabolism with stable isotope metabolomics reveals the legacy of diverse carbon sources in soil – Wilhelm et al. – bioRxiv

Water and extremophile microbiome (sea, rivers, lakes, glaciers, permafrost, high-salt)

Preprint: Culexarchaeia, a novel archaeal class of anaerobic generalists inhabiting geothermal environments – Kohtz et al. – bioRxiv

Food microbiology

Processed ready-to-eat (RTE) foods sold in Yenagoa Nigeria were colonized by diarrheagenic Escherichia coli which constitute a probable hazard to human health – Beshiru et al. – PLOS ONE

Purification and characterization of antifungal lipopeptide produced by Bacillus velezensis isolated from raw honey – Ziong et al. – PLOS ONE


An optimized approach for processing of frozen lung and lavage samples for microbiome studies – Wiscovitch-Russo et al. – PLOS ONE

Science, publishing, and career

***National Summer Undergraduate Research Project (NSURP): A Virtual Research Experience to Deliver REAL (Retention, Equity, Access, and Life-Changing) Outcomes for Underrepresented Minorities in STEM – Johnson & Knox – JMBE

March 31, 2022

General microbiome

Whole genome sequencing and gene sharing network analysis powered by machine learning identifies antibiotic resistance sharing between animals, humans and environment in livestock farming – Peng et al. – PLOS Computational Biology

[PREPRINT]Superfast Evolution of Multi-drug Antibiotic Resistance – Zhang et al. – bioRxiv

Pregnancy and early life

Identification of the specific microbial community compositions in saliva associated with periodontitis during pregnancy – Narita & Kodama – Clinical Oral Investigations

Vaginal microbiome

Impact of Topical Interventions on the Vaginal Microbiota and Metabolome in Postmenopausal Women – Srinivasan et al. – JAMA Network Open

Human gut microbiome

[REVIEW]The interplay between anticancer challenges and the microbial communities from the gut – Hobson et al. – European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

[EDITORIAL]Unraveling disease pathways involving the gut microbiota: the need for deep phenotyping and longitudinal data – Meyer et al. – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Animal experiments (mouse/rat experiments, chickens/pigs on different diets)

The Effects of Stevia Consumption on Gut Bacteria: Friend or Foe? – Kasti et al. – Microorganisms

Jejunoileal mucosal growth in mice with a limited microbiome – Shaughnessy – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Reproducible Propagation of Species-Rich Soil Bacterial Communities Suggests Robust Underlying Deterministic Principles of Community Formation – Causevic et al. – mSystems

Built environment (subways, indoor surfaces)

A quantitative microbial risk assessment for touchscreen user interfaces using an asymmetric transfer gradient transmission mode – di Battista – PLOS One


Postmortem Skeletal Microbial Community Composition and Function in Buried Human Remains – Emmons et al. – mSystems


Microbial Identification Using rRNA Operon Region: Database and Tool for Metataxonomics with Long-Read Sequence – Seol et al. – Microbiology Spectrum


Long-Term Incubation of Lake Water Enables Genomic Sampling of Consortia Involving Planctomycetes and Candidate Phyla Radiation Bacteria – Jaffe et al. – mSystems

March 3, 2022

Today’s digest is heavy on studies focused on the gut and soil microbiomes. It also includes articles focused on microbial indoor air quality as well as bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis among pregnant women. If you’d still like more, I’ve also included several preprints.

Happy reading!

Human vaginal microbiome

Prevalence of bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis and their associated risk factors among pregnant women from northern Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study – Yalew et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Systematically assessing microbiome–disease associations identifies drivers of inconsistency in metagenomic research – Tierney et al. – PLOS Biology

Preprint: Gut microbiome dysbiosis during COVID-19 is associated with increased risk for bacteremia and microbial translocation – Venzon et al. – bioRxiv

Hydrogen-producing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is associated with hepatic encephalopathy and liver function – Yokoyama et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Preprint: Deciphering the potential niche of two novel black yeast fungi from a biological soil crust based on their genomes, phenotypes, and melanin regulation – Carr et al. – bioRxiv

Bacterial age distribution in soil—Generational gaps in adjacent hot and cold spots – Borer & Or – PLOS Computational Biology

Deciphering the influence of Bacillus subtilis strain Ydj3 colonization on the vitamin C contents and rhizosphere microbiomes of sweet peppers – Liang et al. – PLOS One

Antimicrobial effect and mechanism of bovine lactoferrin against the potato common scab pathogen Streptomyces scabiei – Nakamura et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal composition across US citrus orchards, management strategies, and disease severity spectrum – Xi et al. – bioRxiv

Built environment

Comprehensive health risk assessment of microbial indoor air quality in microenvironments – Kumar et al. – PLOS One

Phages and viruses

Preprint: Modelling the synergistic effect of bacteriophage and antibiotics on bacteria: killers and drivers of resistance evolution – Leclerc et al. -bioRxiv


Preprint: Structure-informed microbial population genetics elucidate selective pressures that shape protein evolution – Kiefl et al. – bioRxiv

January 7, 2022

Today’s digest covers a range of topics including a duplex qPCR assay to detect lung infections, an investigation into sand fly symbionts, and a characterization of a fermented soybean food (Pe poke). If you want to end the week on a good note, I’d suggest reading the two articles I’ve highlighted below. One demonstrates that flooding and ecological restoration of former cranberry farmland also restores wetland microbial communities and soil function. The second provides a new barcoding strategy for the phenotypic screening of mosquitos that can be applied towards malaria research.

Happy reading!

General microbiome

Controlled spatial organization of bacterial growth reveals key role of cell filamentation preceding Xylella fastidiosa biofilm formation – Anbumani et al. – npj Biofilms and Microbiomes

Bacteria can be selected to help beneficial plasmids spread – Dimitriu et al. – PLOS Biology

Genome-wide gene expression noise in Escherichia coli is condition-dependent and determined by propagation of noise through the regulatory network – Urchueguía et al. – PLOS Biology

Human respiratory microbiome

Detection of Pneumocystis jirovecii and Toxoplasma gondii in patients with lung infections by a duplex qPCR assay – Wu et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Animal experiments

***Barcoded Asaia bacteria enable mosquito in vivo screens and identify novel systemic insecticides and inhibitors of malaria transmission – Sturm et al. – PLOS Biology

Molecular phylogeny of heritable symbionts and microbiota diversity analysis in phlebotominae sand flies and Culex nigripalpus from Colombia – Vivero-Gomez – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Shotgun sequence-based metataxonomic and predictive functional profiles of Pe poke, a naturally fermented soybean food of Myanmar – Tamang et al. – PLOS One

***Flooding and ecological restoration promote wetland microbial communities and soil functions on former cranberry farmland – Rubin et al. – PLOS One

Water and extremophile microbiome

Coral reef biofilm bacterial diversity and successional trajectories are structured by reef benthic organisms and shift under chronic nutrient enrichment – Remple et al. – npj Biofilms and Microbiomes

December 20, 2021

Today’s digest is a grab bag that includes research articles on the vaginal microbiota, the gut microbiota of dairy calves, microbial loads in medical waste, and more! I’ve also highlighted a non-microbiology article that found that pet dog owners were significantly less depressed than non-pet owners during the pandemic. So if you’re looking for more reasons to adopt a new furry friend, you can add this one to the list!

General microbiome

Genomic comparison and phenotypic profiling of small colony variants of Burkholderia pseudomallei – Zulkefli et al. – PLOS One

Human vaginal microbiome

Vaginal microbiota of American Indian women and associations with measures of psychosocial stress – Borgogna et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Gut microbiota features associated with Clostridioides difficile colonization in dairy calves – Redding et al. – PLOS One

Animal microbiome

Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) as potential vectors for Leishmania martiniquensis and Trypanosoma sp. in northern Thailand – Sunantaraporn et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Migratory wild birds carrying multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli as potential transmitters of antimicrobial resistance in China – Yuan et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Characterization of soils conducive and non-conducive to Prunus replant disease – Khan et al. – Plos One

Built environment

Disposal habits and microbial load of solid medical waste in sub-district healthcare facilities and households in Yilo-Krobo municipality, Ghana – Egbenyah et al. – PLOS One

Phages and viruses

A systematic review and meta-analysis of the potential non-human animal reservoirs and arthropod vectors of the Mayaro virus – Celone et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases


Genomic prediction using low-coverage portable Nanopore sequencing – Lamb et al. – PLOS One

Development of an efficient Sanger sequencing-based assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations – Lim et al. – PLOS One

Kara’s non-microbiology pick

***Depression, anxiety, and happiness in dog owners and potential dog owners during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States – Martin et al. – PLOS One

November 15, 2021

Today’s digest contains an article about the effect of shale flowback fluid on the polluted soil microbiome. It also includes multiple preprints on topics such as long-read sequencing on the Oxford Nanopore, arctic marine protists, rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing for mixed infections, and more.

Happy reading!

General microbiome

Preprint: Rapid antibiotic susceptibility testing and species identification for mixed infections – Kandavalli et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Bacterial quorum sensing allows graded and bimodal cellular responses to variations in population density – Rattray et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint – Phage-encoded sigma factors alter bacterial dormancy – Schwartz et al. – bioRxiv

Human respiratory microbiome

Preprint: Aspergillus fumigatus drives tissue damage via iterative assaults upon mucosal integrity and immune homeostasis – Okaa et al. – bioRxiv

Human skin microbiome

Preprint: Cobamide sharing drives skin microbiome dynamics – Swaney et al. – bioRxiv

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Toxic effects of shale gas fracturing flowback fluid on microbial communities in polluted soil – Zudong Mei et al. – Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: Colonial choanoflagellate isolated from Mono Lake harbors a microbiome – Hake et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Linking extreme seasonality and gene expression in arctic marine protists – Wutkowska et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Biosorption potential and molecular characterization of metal resistant autochthonous microbes from tannery solid waste – Younas et al. – bioRxiv


Preprint: Oxford Nanopore R10.4 long-read sequencing enables near-perfect bacterial genomes from pure cultures and metagenomes without short-read or reference polishing – Sereika et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Going through phages: A Computational approach to Revealing the role of prophage in Staphylococcus aureus – Sweet et al. – bioRxiv

October 22, 2021

Happy Friday!

Today’s digest includes an article on the role of age in the human intestinal microbiome, research on the role of a novel Acidobacteriota in seafloor sulfur cycling, work demonstrating the use of machine learning to predict camplyobacter source data, and much more! I also included the link to a page on “The Secret World Inside You”, a science exhibit focused on the human microbiome that is at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas from now until April 10, 2022. If anyone ends up checking it out, I’d love to hear about it!


A microbiome science exhibit, “The Secret World Inside You,” is at The Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas from October 16, 2021 to April 10, 2022 .

Human gut microbiome

Bile acid-independent protection against Clostridioides difficile infection – Aguirre et al. – PLOS PATHOGENS

The importance of age in compositional and functional profiling of the human intestinal microbiome – Herzog et al. – PLOS ONE

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

The chosen few—variations in common and rare soil bacteria across biomes – Bickel & Or – The ISME Journal

The fungus Kalmusia longispora is able to cause vascular necrosis on Vitis vinifera – Karácsony et al. – PLOS ONE

Water and extremophile microbiome

Novel taxa of Acidobacteriota implicated in seafloor sulfur cycling – Flieder et al. – The ISME Journal

Beach sand oil spills select for generalist microbial populations – Heritier-Robbins et al. – The ISME Journal

Preprint: Influence of DNA extraction kits on the fungal DNA metabarcoding for freshwater environmental DNA – Matsuoka et al. – bioRxiv

Marine signature taxa and core microbial community stability along latitudinal and vertical gradients in sediments of the deepest freshwater lake – Reboul et al. – The ISME Journal

Phages and viruses

Review: Community context matters for bacteria-phage ecology and evolution – Blazanin & Turner – The ISME Journal


Machine learning to predict the source of campylobacteriosis using whole genome data – Arning et al. – PLOS GENETICS