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

December 2, 2021

Happy December from Pittsburgh!

Today’s digest includes original research on the impacts of fungal entomopathogens on Wolbacia infections and the influence of nutrient status on the response of a diatom to oil and dispersant. I have also included a study protocol for oral microbiome transplant for the treatment of dental caries and periodontal disease as well as preprints on a variety of topics. Finally, I want to highlight two articles I included that are little different from my usual content: the first is on predictors of willingness to receive the COVID-19 vaccination and the second is focused on transparency in peer review.



***To vaccinate or not to vaccinate!? Predictors of willingness to receive Covid-19 vaccination in Europe, the U.S., and China – Brailovskaia et al. – PLOS One

General microbiome

Preprint: Copper nanoparticles as modulator of active bacterial population and their physiology in ecosphere – Alboloushi et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Metabolite Damage and Damage-Control in a Minimal Genome – Haas et al. – bioRxiv

Development and characterization of an oral microbiome transplant among Australians for the treatment of dental caries and periodontal disease: A study protocol – Nath et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Heat activation and inactivation of bacterial spores. Is there an overlap? – Wen et al. – bioRxiv

Animal experiments

Inferring Mycobacterium bovis transmission between cattle and badgers using isolates from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial – van Tonder et al. – PLOS Pathogens

Animal microbiome

Impacts of fungal entomopathogens on survival and immune responses of Aedes albopictus and Culex pipiens mosquitoes in the context of native Wolbachia infections – Ramirez et al. – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

Water and extremophile microbiome

Influence of nutrient status on the response of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum to oil and dispersant – Kamalanathan et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Community-wide epigenetics provides novel perspectives on the ecology and evolution of marine microbiome – Seong et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Microbial cysteine degradation is a source of hydrogen sulfide in oxic freshwater lakes – Tran et al. – bioRxiv


When and why direct transmission models can be used for environmentally persistent pathogens – Benson – PLOS Computational Biology


Preprint: The processing of staphylococcal biofilm images from Fluorescence and Confocal Microscopy to assess in vitro efficacy of antiseptic molecules – Krasowski et al. – bioRxiv

Science, publishing, and career

***Transparency in peer review: Exploring the content and tone of reviewers’ confidential comments to editors – O’Brien 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

September 30, 2021

Today’s digest includes a quantification of bacterial strains after fecal microbiota transplantation, a network analysis of the strawberry greenhouse soil microbiome after soil amendments, and an article about enhanced copper-resistance genes in Alteromonas macleodii. Also included are multiple preprints on topics such as denitrification pathways present in tunda soil metagenomes as well as the response of Endozoicomonas, a core coral bacterial group, to heat stress and host lysates.

General microbiome

Genomic population structure associated with repeated escape of Salmonella enterica ATCC14028s from the laboratory into nature – Achtman et al. – PLOS Genetics

Preprint: Role of the mobilome in the global dissemination of the carbapenem resistance gene blaNDM – Acman et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Existence of log-phase Escherichia coli persisters and lasting memory of a starvation pulse – Svenningsen et al. – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome

Precise quantification of bacterial strains after fecal microbiota transplantation delineates long-term engraftment and explains outcomes – Aggarwala et al. – Nature Microbiology

Animal microbiome

A role for arthropods as vectors of multidrug-resistant Enterobacterales in surgical site infections from South Asia – Hassan et al. – Nature Microbiology

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Response of soil microbiome structure and its network profiles to four soil amendments in monocropping strawberry greenhouse – Liu et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Truncated denitrifiers dominate the denitrification pathway in tundra soil metagenomes – Pessi et al. – bioRxiv

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: Response of Endozoicomonas montiporae to heat stress and coral host lysates – Chan et al. – bioRxiv

Enhanced copper-resistance gene repertoire in Alteromonas macleodii strains isolated from copper-treated marine coatings – Cusick et al. – PLOS One

Bacterial community structure of early-stage biofilms is dictated by temporal succession rather than substrate types in the southern coastal seawater of India – Sushmitha et al. – PLOS One

Preprint: Ecological stochasticity and phage induction diversify bacterioplankton communities at the microscale – Szabo et al. – bioRxiv

July 23, 2021

Happy Friday!

It’s an exciting day here because I’m packing for fieldwork! In just a few short days I’ll be sampling from a saline aquifer in Illinois. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to be going into the field, today’s digest is packed with a wide range of articles. Topics covered include the wild spider gut microbiome, the presence of antibiotic resistance genes in an Ohio river, the mosquito virome, the plant rhizosphere, and more.

Happy reading!

Human gut microbiome

Preprint: Phenotypic and genomic diversification in complex carbohydrate degrading human gut bacteria – Pudlo et al. – bioRxiv

Animal experiments

Effect of biochanin A on the rumen microbial community of Holstein steers consuming a high fiber diet and subjected to a subacute acidosis challenge – Harlow et al. – PLOS ONE

Ear wound healing in MRL/MpJ mice is associated with gut microbiome composition and is transferable to non-healer mice via microbiome transplantation – Velasco et al. – PLOS ONE

Animal microbiome

Preprint: Increased microbial diversity and decreased prevalence of common pathogens in the gut microbiomes of wild turkeys compared to domestic turkeys – Craft et al. – bioRxiv

Interspecific variation and functional traits of the gut microbiome in spiders from the wild: The largest effort so far – Tyagi et al. – PLOS ONE

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Preprint: Tillage intensity and plant rhizosphere selection shape bacterial-archaeal assemblage diversity and nitrogen cycling genes – Cloutier et al. – bioRxiv

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: An Ohio State Scenic River Shows Elevated Antibiotic Resistance Genes, Including Acinetobacter Tetracycline and Macrolide Resistance, Downstream of Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent – Murphy – bioRxiv

Biogeochemistry of the Antrim Shale Natural Gas Reservoir – Stemple et al. – ACS Earth and Space Chemistry

Built environment

Preprint: Novel municipal sewage-associated bacterial genomes and their potential in source tracking – Linder et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Structure of bacterial communities in Japanese-style bathrooms: Comparative sequencing of bacteria in shower water and showerhead biofilms using a portable nanopore sequencer – Fujiyoshi et al. – bioRxiv

Phages and viruses

Preprint: Dynamic surveillance of mosquitoes and their viromes in Wuhan during 2020 – Ren et al. – bioRxiv


Simple mapping-based quantification of a mock microbial community using total RNA-seq data – Moriya – PLOS ONE

Preprint: Evaluation of DNA extraction protocols from liquid-based cytology specimens for studying cervical microbiota – Shibata et al. – bioRxiv

June 23, 2021

Happy Wednesday!

Today’s digest includes a review on the microbial transformations of human bile acids as well as research articles focused on extremophiles including Arthrobacter, Acidithiobacillus, and Atribacteria. Also included are a wide variety of preprints on topics such as CRISPR-Cas, the vaginal microbiome, immunocompetence in pigs, the evaluation of RNAlater for preserving field samples for metaproteomics, and more!

Happy reading!

General microbiome

Preprint: CRISPR-Cas systems are widespread accessory elements across bacterial and archaeal plasmids – Pinilla-Redondo et al. – bioRxiv

Human respiratory microbiome

Indoor bacterial, fungal and viral species and functional genes in urban and rural schools in Shanxi Province, China–association with asthma, rhinitis and rhinoconjunctivitis in high school students – Fu et al. – Microbiome

Human vaginal microbiome

Preprint: Insight into the ecology of vaginal bacteria through integrative analyses of metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data – France et al. – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome

Review: Microbial transformations of human bile acids – Guzior & Quinn – Microbiome

Preprint: Targeted high-resolution taxonomic identification of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis using human milk oligosaccharide metabolizing genes – Tso et al. – bioRxiv

An integrated gene catalog and over 10,000 metagenome-assembled genomes from the gastrointestinal microbiome of ruminants – Xie et al. – Microbiome

Animal experiments

Preprint: Leveraging host-genetics and gut microbiota to determine immunocompetence in pigs – Ramayo-Caldas et al. – bioRxiv

Joint contributions of the gut microbiota and host genetics to feed efficiency in chickens – Wen et al. – Microbiome

Animal microbiome

Holobiont nitrogen control and its potential for eutrophication resistance in an obligate photosymbiotic jellyfish – Röthig et al. – Microbiome

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Preprint: Microbial metabolism and adaptations in Atribacteria-dominated methane hydrate sediments – Glass et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Seed microbiota revealed by a large-scale meta-analysis including 50 plant species – Simonin et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: The activity and functions of subarctic soil microbial communities vary across vegetation types – Viitamäki et al. – bioRxiv

Water and extremophile microbiome

Preprint: Revealing the full biosphere structure and versatile metabolic functions in the deepest ocean sediment of the Challenger Deep – Chen et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Mechanistic insights into the success of xenobiotic degraders resolved from metagenomes of microbial enrichment cultures – Li et al. – bioRxiv

Low shifts in salinity determined assembly processes and network stability of microeukaryotic plankton communities in a subtropical urban reservoir – Mo et al. – Microbiome

Linking genomic and physiological characteristics of psychrophilic Arthrobacter to metagenomic data to explain global environmental distribution – Shen et al. – Microbiome

Genomic adaptations enabling Acidithiobacillus distribution across wide-ranging hot spring temperatures and pHs – Sriaporn et al. – Microbiome

Built environment

Preprint: Metagenome-based comparisons of decay rates and host-specificity of fecal microbial communities for improved microbial source tracking – Suttner et al. – bioRxiv

Phages and viruses

Preprint: Expanding clinical phage microbiology: Simulating phage inhalation for respiratory tract infections – Porat et al. – bioRxiv


Ultra-accurate microbial amplicon sequencing with synthetic long reads – Callahan et al. – Microbiome

Preprint: Evaluation of RNAlater as a field-compatible preservation method for metaproteomic analyses of bacteria-animal symbioses – Jensen et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Predicting microbiome compositions through deep learning – Michel-Mata et al. – bioRxiv

June 4, 2021

Greetings from Pittsburgh!

Today’s digest includes a review about the digestibility of adult dog diets, several articles about the human gut microbiome, an article about the spinach phyllosphere, and research about the effect of fertilizer and continuous garlic cultivation on the soil microbiome. It also includes topics such as microorganisms in ancient Siberian permafrost, the use of a probiotic consortium as an alternative to chemical remediation of oil spills, and much more!

If you want a lighter read, I’ve also included a fun Smithsonian Magazine article about the use of bacteria in art restoration.

Happy Friday!

General microbiome

Review: An evolving view on biogeochemical cycling of iron – Kappler et al. – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Review: Beyond horizontal gene transfer: the role of plasmids in bacterial evolution – Rodríguez-Beltrán et al. – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Review: Cells within cells: Rickettsiales and the obligate intracellular bacterial lifestyle – Salje – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Reviews: Microbial volatile organic compounds in intra-kingdom and inter-kingdom interactions – Weisskopf et al. – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Human skin microbiome

Apple cider vinegar soaks do not alter the skin bacterial microbiome in atopic dermatitis – Luu et al. – PLOS One

Human gut microbiome

Metabolomic profiling identifies complex lipid species and amino acid analogues associated with response to weight loss interventions – Bihlmeyer et al. – PLOS One

Gut microbiome differences among Mexican Americans with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus – Kitten et al. – PLOS One

Enlightening the taxonomy darkness of human gut microbiomes with a cultured biobank – Liu et al. – Microbiome

Gut microbiota profiles of young South Indian children: Child sex-specific relations with growth – Shivakumar et al. – PLOS One

Animal experiments

Review: Soybean meal and poultry offal meal effects on digestibility of adult dogs diets – Vanelli et al. – PLOS One

Animal microbiome

A survey of mosquito-borne and insect-specific viruses in hospitals and livestock markets in western Kenya – Chiuya et al. – PLOS One

Microbiomes of clownfish and their symbiotic host anemone converge before their first physical contact – Émie et al. – Microbiome

Characterization of oral and cloacal microbial communities in cold-stunned Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii) during the time course of rehabilitation – McNally et al. – PLOS One

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Influence of seasonal changes and salinity on spinach phyllosphere bacterial functional assemblage – Ibekwe et al. – PLOS One

Comparison of bacterial and archaeal communities in two fertilizer doses and soil compartments under continuous cultivation system of garlic – Zhou et al. – PLOS One

Water and extremophile microbiome

Meanders as a scaling motif for understanding of floodplain soil microbiome and biogeochemical potential at the watershed scale – Carnevali et al. – Microbiome

Urban wastewater bacterial communities assemble into seasonal steady states – LaMartina et al. – Microbiome

Genomic reconstruction of fossil and living microorganisms in ancient Siberian permafrost – Liang et al. – Microbiome

Genomic and immunogenic changes of Piscine novirhabdovirus (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus) over its evolutionary history in the Laurentian Great Lakes – Niner et al. – PLOS One

Built environment

Multi-domain probiotic consortium as an alternative to chemical remediation of oil spills at coral reefs and adjacent sites – Silva et al. – Microbiome

Microbes in the news

Italian Art Restorers Used Bacteria to Clean Michelangelo Masterpieces – Davis-Marks – Smithsonian Magazine

May 17, 2021

Good morning from Pittsburgh.

Today’s digest is preprint-heavy and has quite a few articles focused on soil, plants, and agriculture. If you aren’t interested in those areas of research, we also have articles with topics spanning the 1918 pandemic to multi-donor fecal transplants to carbohydrate utilization by marine fungi.

Happy reading!

General microbiome

Fresh extension of Vibrio cholerae competence type IV pili predisposes them for motor-independent retraction – Chlebek et al. – Appl Environ Microbiol

Preprint: Coordination of gene expression with cell size enables Escherichia coli to efficiently maintain motility across conditions – Honda et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Archival influenza virus genomes from Europe reveal genomic and phenotypic variability during the 1918 pandemic – Patrono et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Fluorescent protein expression as a proxy of bacterial fitness in a high throughput assay – Schlechter et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Nanopore sequencing provides rapid and reliable insight into microbial profiles of Intensive Care Units – Viana de Siqueira et al. – bioRxiv

Human skin microbiome

Preprint: Anatomy promotes neutral coexistence of strains in the human skin microbiome – Conwill et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Gene- and genome-centric dynamics shape the diversity of oral bacterial populations – Utter et al. – bioRxiv

Human gut microbiome

Preprint: Two microbiota subtypes identified in Irritable Bowel Syndrome with distinct responses to the low-FODMAP diet – Vervier et al. – bioRxiv

Strain engraftment competition and functional augmentation in a multi-donor fecal microbiota transplantation trial for obesity – Wilson et al. – Microbiome

Plant, root, and soil microbiome

Soil origin and plant genotype structure distinct microbiome compartments in the model legume Medicago truncatula – Brown et al. – Microbiome

Preprint: A novel dual enrichment strategy provides soil- and digestate-competent N2O-respiring bacteria for mitigating climate forcing in agriculture – Jonassen et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Temporal dynamics of microbial transcription in wetted hyperarid desert soils – León-Sobrino et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Metagenomic sequencing for rapid identification of Xylella fastidiosa from leaf samples – Roman-reyna et al. – BioRxiv

Preprint: Pseudomonas arenae sp. nov., Pseudomonas glycinis sp. nov. and Pseudomonas harudinis sp. nov., three novel bacterial species and plant endophytes – Seaton et al. – bioRxiv

Preprint: Phage-resistant bacteria reveal a role for potassium in root colonization – Tzipilevich & Benfey – bioRxiv

Metagenomic analysis reveals the shared and distinct features of the soil resistome across tundra, temperate prairie, and tropical ecosystems – Qian et al. – Microbiome

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

Potential and expression of carbohydrate utilization by marine fungi in the global ocean – Baltar et al. – Microbiome

Preprint: Syntrophic H2 production enhances the performance of primarily acetate-supplemented reactors treating sulphate contaminated solutions – Hessler et al. – bioRxiv

May 3, 2021

Water microbiome

Insights into the microbial diversity and structure in a full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plant with particular regard to Archaea – Płaza et al. – PLoS ONE

From the Andes to the desert: 16S rRNA metabarcoding characterization of aquatic bacterial communities in the Rimac river, the main source of water for Lima, Peru – Romero et al. – PLoS ONE

Distribution and diversity of eukaryotic microalgae in Kuwait waters assessed using 18S rRNA gene sequencing – Kumar et al. – PLoS ONE

Plant microbiome

Toward understanding microbiota homeostasis in the plant kingdom – Paasch & He – PLoS Pathogens

Animal microbiome

Seasonal dynamics of diet–gut microbiota interaction in adaptation of yaks to life at high altitude – Guo et al. – npj Biofilms and Microbiomes

Low biomass microbiome

Experimental parameters defining ultra-low biomass bioaerosol analysis – Luhung et al. – npj Biofilms and Microbiomes

Human gut microbiome

A rich meconium metabolome in human infants is associated with early-life gut microbiota composition and reduced allergic sensitization – Petersen et al. – Cell Reports Medicine