Non-human microbiome digest, October 27, 2014

Microbiomes of camels, cheetahs, jackals, birds and reptiles, limpets, corals, plant roots, soils, and sea water.

Animal microbiome

* In-depth diversity analysis of the bacterial community resident in the camel rumen – Javad Gharechahi – Systematic and Applied Microbiology

“In this study, 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing was applied in order to explore the structure of the bacterial community inhabiting the camel rumen.”

Oligotyping reveals differences between gut microbiomes of free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivores (Acinonyx jubatus, Canis mesomelas) on a bacterial species-like level – Sebastian Menke – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Here, we used Illumina MiSeq to sequence amplicons generated from the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene to investigate the gut microbiome of two free-ranging sympatric Namibian carnivore species, the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas).”

Diet is a major factor governing the fecal butyrate-producing community structure across Mammalia, Aves and Reptilia – Marius Vital – ISME Journal

“We investigated the butyrate-producing community in hindgut-fermenting Mammalia (n=38), Aves (n=8) and Reptilia (n=8) using a gene-targeted pyrosequencing approach of the terminal genes of the main butyrate-synthesis pathways”

Decadal changes in common reef coral populations and their associations with algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp.) – Timothy R. McClanahan – Marine Ecology

“Decadal populations changes in four coral taxa and their patterns of association with algal symbionts (Symbiodinium spp. – 10 years of sampling) were examined on Kenyan back reefs over a period of climatic disturbances (1991−2009). “

Metaphylogenomic and Potential Functionality of the Limpet Patella pellucida’s Gastrointestinal Tract Microbiome – Magda Dudek – International Journal of Molecular Sciences

“This study investigated the microbial diversity associated with the digestive tract of the seaweed grazing marine limpet Patella pellucida.”

Plant microbiome

* Distinct root-associated bacterial communities on three wild plant species growing in a common field – Kristin Aleklett – PeerJ Preprints

“We sampled endophytic and epiphytic bacteria in root tissues from a population of a wild, clonal plant… as well as two neighboring plant species … to determine if plant species hosted unique root microbiota”

The fungal leaf endophyte Paraconiothyrium variabile specifically metabolizes the host-plant metabolome for its own benefit – Yuan Tian – Phytochemistry

“..we have investigated the action of the endophytic fungus Paraconiothyrium variabile, isolated from the leaves of Cephalotaxus harringtonia, on the secondary metabolome of the host-plant. “

Soil microbiome

Late winter under ice pelagic microbial communities in the high Arctic Ocean and the impact of short-term exposure to elevated CO2 levels – Adam Monier – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Phylogenetic diversity was greater in the attached fraction compared to the free-living fraction in situ, in the controls and in the treatments.”

The ecological dichotomy of ammonia-oxidizing archaea and bacteria in the hyper-arid soils of the Antarctic Dry Valleys – Catarina M. Magalhães – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Here we showed that AOB and AOA amoA gene diversity was generally low; only four AOA and three AOB operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were identified from a total of 420 AOA and AOB amoA clones.”

Soil bacterial community composition altered by increased nutrient availability in Arctic tundra soils – Akihiro Koyama – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Fertilization significantly altered overall bacterial community composition and reduced evenness, to a greater degree in organic than mineral soils, and in the 1989 compared to the 2006 site.”

Effect of volatile organic compounds absorbed to fresh biochar on survival of Bacillus mucilaginosus and structure of soil microbial communities – Daquan Sun – Journal of Soils and Sediments

“The structure of a soil microbial community incubated in biochar was examined via denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). “

Broad host range plasmids can invade an unexpectedly diverse fraction of a soil bacterial community – Uli Klümper – ISME Journal

“We identified transfer to many different recipients belonging to 11 different bacterial phyla. “

Water microbiome

Genomes and gene expression across light and productivity gradients in eastern subtropical Pacific microbial communities – Chris L Dupont – ISME Journal

“Relative to surface waters, bacterial SCM communities displayed greater genetic diversity and enrichment in putative sulfur oxidizers, multiple actinomycetes, low-light-adapted Prochlorococcus and cell-associated viruses.”

Aerobic methanotrophic communities at the Red Sea brine-seawater interface – Rehab Z. Abdallah – Frontiers in Microbiology

“The current study analyzed the aerobic free–living methane-oxidizing bacterial communities that potentially contribute to methane oxidation at the brine-seawater interfaces of the three aforementioned brine pools, using metagenomic pyrosequencing, 16S rRNA pyrotags and pmoA library constructs. “

Bacterial community structure is indicative of chemical inputs in the Upper Mississippi River – Christopher Staley – Frontiers in Microbiology

“Bacterial communities were characterized by Illumina sequencing of the V6 region of 16S rDNA and compared to >40 chemical and nutrient concentrations. “

Semiconductor Sequencing Reveals the Diversity of Bacterial Communities in an Amazonian Reservoir – Diego Assis das Graças – Aquatic Science and Technology

“In this study, we used a next-generation sequencing platform, the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine, and employed a barcode library to investigate the bacterial diversity along a 70-m deep water column in the proximity of the dam. “

Seasonal changes of microbial communities in two shallow peat bog lakes – Sylwia Lew – Folia Microbiologica

“We investigated the seasonal dynamics of the microbial community in two small peat bog lakes, Kuźnik Olsowy and Kuźnik Bagienny, located in western Poland.”

Bioreactor microbiome

Methane-fed microbial microcosms show differential community dynamics and pinpoint taxa involved in communal response – Igor Y Oshkin – ISME Journal

“We report observations on the dynamics of bacterial communities in response to methane stimulus in laboratory microcosm incubations prepared with lake sediment samples.”

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Microbiome Digest, October 23, 2014

Not much microbiome news today – which was good because I got time to watch the solar eclipse and a huge solar storm at the same time.  Enjoy the read!

Animal models of microbiome research

Lyn Deficiency Leads to Increased Microbiota-Dependent Intestinal Inflammation and Susceptibility to Enteric Pathogens – Morgan E. Roberts – Journal of Immunology

“Lyn2/2 mice exhibited profound cecal inflammation, bacterial dissemination, and morbidity following S. Typhimurium challenge and greater colonic inflammation throughout the course of C. rodentium infection.”

Rock microbiome

* Halophilic Archaea Cultivated from Surface Sterilized Middle-Late Eocene Rock Salt Are Polyploid – Salla T. Jaakkola – PLOS ONE

“We used real-time PCR to show that our isolates are polyploid, with genome copy numbers of 11–14 genomes per cell in exponential growth phase.”

More Microbiology

Zooming in to see the bigger picture: Microfluidic and nanofabrication tools to study bacteria – Felix J. H. Hol, Cees Dekker – Science

“Here, we review the new scientific insights gained by using a diverse set of nanofabrication and microfluidic techniques to study individual bacteria and multispecies communities.”

Review: Theory and Empiricism in Virulence Evolution – James J. Bull, Adam S. Lauring – PLOS Pathogens

“Our purpose here is to offer a brief introduction to virulence theory, explain some of its strengths and weaknesses, and suggest how theory might be united with empiric data”

Techniques

Comparing the new 16S rRNA V4 and ITS primers to the old primers-RESULTS! – Embriette Hyde – MicroBEnet

“The Knight lab has been working hard testing new primers for 16S rRNA amplicon production and its time to share our progress.”

Microbes in the News

As permafrost soils thaw, soil microbes amplify global climate change – Science Daily

“Now, research by an international team of scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Australia, led by University of Arizona scientists, shows that a single species of microbe, discovered only very recently, is an unexpected key player in climate change.”

* The Scientist: Prof. Esther Angert Studies Extreme Bacteria – Siddesh Ramesh – Cornell Sun

“While the majority of bacteria cannot be seen without a microscope, there exists a group of bacterial species that is visible to the naked eye. Known as Epulopiscium, they are “an extreme on the spectrum of diversity of bacterial life in existence,” according to Prof. Esther Angert, microbiology.”

Bik’s Picks

Flare Alert: Monster Sunspot Turns Toward Earth – Ian O’Neill – Discovery

“Amateur astronomers have been wowed by a vast sunspot that has rotated to face Earth, the largest since this solar cycle began in 2008, and solar observatories (on the ground and orbiting Earth) are closely monitoring the region.“

Watch cell division with new, remarkable resolution: Nobel winner Betzig strikes again – Tech Times

“Just weeks after sharing the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work involving high-resolution microscopes, a U.S. researcher has again stunned the scientific world with a new technique that peers deeply into living cells.

Ancient Europeans do not drink milk according to new study – BetaWired

“Almost everyone drinks milk today but a new study shows that ancient Europeans were not milk lovers back in the old days. According to a DNA analysis result, ancient Europeans are lactose intolerant.”

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Microbiome digest, October 16, 2014

Lung microbiome and pneumonia, bacterial vaginosis, microbiome and jetlag, cardiovascular consequences of gut dysbiosis, bacteria in locust guts and cropland in China, and how to earn some $$$ with your poop.

Human respiratory microbiome

Single-Molecule Long-Read 16S Sequencing To Characterize the Lung Microbiome from Mechanically Ventilated Patients with Suspected Pneumonia – Ian Toma – Journal of Clinical Microbiology

“The present study used NGS of essentially full-length PCR-amplified 16S ribosomal DNA from the bronchial aspirates of intubated patients with suspected pneumonia.”

Human vaginal microbiome

Recent progress in understanding the epidemiology of bacterial vaginosis – Kenyon, Chris R.; Osbak, Kara – Current Opinion in Obstetrics & Gynecology

“Bacterial vaginosis epidemiology has been transformed by new theoretical insights and methodologies, such as molecular sequencing. We summarize the progress made in these domains.”

Human gut microbiome

Transkingdom Control of Microbiota Diurnal Oscillations Promotes Metabolic Homeostasis – Christoph A. Thaiss – Cell

“Consequently, jet-lag-induced dysbiosis in both mice and humans promotes glucose intolerance and obesity that are transferrable to germ-free mice upon fecal transplantation.”

Far from the Eyes, Close to the Heart: Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota and Cardiovascular Consequences – Matteo Serino – Current Cardiology Reports

“Here, we report evidence from the literature, as well as a few controversial reports, regarding the putative role of gut microbiota dysbiosis-induced cardiovascular diseases”

Insect microbiome

Cellulolytic activity and structure of symbiotic bacteria in locust guts – L-J Su – Genetics and Molecular Research

“The diversity of gut symbiotic bacteria was studied using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). “

Soil microbiome

Effects of Manure Compost Application on Soil Microbial Community Diversity and Soil Microenvironments in a Temperate Cropland in China – Zhen Zhen – PLOS ONE

“Denaturing gradient electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting analysis showed that the structure and composition of bacterial and fungi communities in the six fertilizer treatments varied at different levels. “

Water microbiome

Substratum-Associated Microbiota – Furey, Paula C.; Liess, Antonia – Water Environment Research

“In this review of the 2013 literature, advances in laboratory, field, and assessment methods are highlighted as are updates in taxonomy and systematics.”

More microbiology

Commensally sourced antibiotics – Cláudio Nunes-Alves – Nature Reviews Microbiology

Donia et al. have carried out the first systematic screen of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in the healthy human microbiota and found that BGCs for the thiopeptide class of antibiotics are widely distributed.”

First aid kit for cholera – Andrea Du Toit – Nature Reviews Microbiology

“In a new study, Gordon and colleagues examined the role of the human gut microbiota in V. cholerae infection and showed that one of its members, Ruminococcus obeum, decreases the expression of V. cholerae virulence factors to limit colonization.”

Microbes in the news

* A Poop Bank in Massachusetts Will Pay You $40 Every Day – Chelsea Rice – Boston.com

“All you have to do is visit OpenBiome, launched in 2012 as the only independent nonprofit stool bank in the country.”

Study reveals rats in NYC carry variety of infectious bacteria – Larry McShane – New York Daily News

“The first-of-its-kind study showed the rodents carrying an average of two bacteria capable of causing gastrointestinal problems for humans and the Seoul hantavirus, which causes a potentially life-threatening fever and kidney failure.”

* New Genes = New Archaea? – Molly Sharlach – The Scientist

“The study, published today (October 15) in Nature, also suggests that genetic transfers from bacteria to archaea are at least five times more common than from archaea to bacteria.”

Bik’s Picks

“Epicenters” of resilience – Mary Lou Zoback – Science

“The 25th anniversary of the magnitude (M) 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area on 17 October 1989 is a fitting time to examine what progress has been made in increasing community resilience to minimize seismic risk. “

Cells’ powerhouses were once energy parasites: Study upends current theories of how mitochondria began – Science Daily

“Parasitic bacteria were the first cousins of the mitochondria that power cells in animals and plants — and first acted as energy parasites in those cells before becoming beneficial, according to a new study”

How Did We Become a Society Suspicious of Science? – Keith M. Parsons – Huffington Post

“But something has been lost. Fifty years ago science was king. Science had respect; it was bigger than ideology. No longer. “

 

Biology Week: Bio-bodies Bake Off Public Vote – Physiological Society

“In the lead up to biology week we set you a challenge! We wanted you to celebrate the science of life by creating your own physiology bakes, and you didn’t let us down! ”

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Microbiome digest, October 15, 2014

A seminar this Friday with Pat Schloss, but without HMP girl, aspartame and gut microbiome in a rat model, bacteria in arsenic contaminated soil, and inter-kingdom horizontal gene transfer.

Human oral microbiome

General Immune Status and Oral Microbiology in Patients with Different Forms of Periodontitis and Healthy Control Subjects – Jana Schmidt – PLOS ONE

“Subgingival plaque samples were taken from each individual and immediately cultivated for microbiological examination.”

Pregnancy and birth

* The vaginal microbiome, vaginal anti-microbial defence mechanisms and the clinical challenge of reducing infection-related preterm birth – SS Witkin – BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology

“Ascending bacterial infection is implicated in about 40–50% of preterm births. “

Animal models of microbiome research

* Low-Dose Aspartame Consumption Differentially Affects Gut Microbiota-Host Metabolic Interactions in the Diet-Induced Obese Rat – Marie S. A. Palmnäs – PLOS ONE

“Serum metabolomics analysis revealed aspartame to be rapidly metabolized and to be associated with elevations in the short chain fatty acid propionate, a bacterial end product and highly gluconeogenic substrate, potentially explaining its negative affects on insulin tolerance. “

Effect of dietary supplementation with resveratrol on nutrient digestibility, methanogenesis and ruminal microbial flora in sheep – T. Ma – Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition

“Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effect of resveratrol on methanogenesis and microbial flora in Dorper × thin-tailed Han cross-bred ewes. “

Soil microbiome

Changing precipitation pattern alters soil microbial community response to wet-up under a Mediterranean-type climate – Romain L Barnard – ISME Journal

“Here, we investigated the effects of extending winter rainfall into the normally dry summer period on soil microbial response to a controlled rewetting event”

Surface binding and intracellular uptake of arsenic in bacteria isolated from arsenic contaminated site – Neha Vishnoi, Sonal Dixit, D.P. Singh – Ecological Engineering

“The present study deals with the surface binding and uptake of arsenic (As) in two bacterial strains (Bacillus subtilis and Paenibacillus macerans) isolated from the As contaminated soil.”

Water microbiome

Effects of ecological engineered oxygenation on the bacterial community structure in an anoxic fjord in western Sweden – Michael Forth – ISME Journal

“We used molecular ecologic methods to study changes in bacterial community structure in response to the oxygenation in the Byfjord. “

Food microbiology

Assessment of the bacterial and fungal diversity in home-made yoghurts of Xinjiang, China by pyrosequencing – Haiyan Xu – Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture

“The bacterial and fungal community diversity in 22 home-made yoghurt samples was analyzed by pyrosequencing. “

CRISPRs, phages, viruses

In Hopes Of Fixing Faulty Genes, One Scientist Starts With The Basics – Joe Palca – NPR Morning Edition

“That’s certainly true for Jennifer Doudna. She hasn’t won a Nobel Prize, but many are whispering that she’s in line to win one for her work on something called CRISPR/Cas9 — a tool for editing genes.”

Bioinformatics and metagenomics

* Inter-phylum HGT has shaped the metabolism of many mesophilic and anaerobic bacteria – Alejandro Caro-Quintero and Konstantinos T Konstantinidis – ISME Journal

“Here, we devised a novel bioinformatic pipeline, which minimized the effect of over-representation of specific taxa in the available databases and other limitations of homology-based approaches by analyzing genomes in standardized triplets, to quantify gene exchange between bacterial genomes representing different phyla. “

* Origins of major archaeal clades correspond to gene acquisitions from bacteria
Shijulal Nelson-Sathi – Nature

“To investigate the origin of higher taxa in archaea, we have determined gene distributions and gene phylogenies for the 267,568 protein-coding genes of 134 sequenced archaeal genomes in the context of their homologues from 1,847 reference bacterial genomes.”

Evidence of Carbon Fixation Pathway in a Bacterium from Candidate Phylum SBR1093 Revealed with Genomic Analysis – Zhiping Wang – PLOS ONE

“A phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rRNA gene reveals that the phylotypes within candidate phylum SBR1093 are primarily clustered into 5 clades with a shallow branching pattern. “

Metagenomic Approach Reveals Variation of Microbes with Arsenic and Antimony Metabolism Genes from Highly Contaminated Soil – Jinming Luo – PLOS ONE

“Metagenomic analysis revealed that microbes from 18 phyla were present in the 5 samples of soil contaminated with high As and Sb.”

More microbiology

* The Phylogeny of Everything, the Origin of Eukaryotes, and the Rules of Taxonomy: Death to Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya! Long live Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Eukaryota, and Prokaryota! – Judge Starling

“The molecular revelation based on orthologous ribosomal RNA sequences that prokaryotes are separable into two basic taxa—archaebacteria and eubacteria, and that these two taxa are approximately equidistant from eukaryotes, prompted Woese et al. (1990) to come up with a tripartite taxonomy of all life forms.”

Adhesion as a weapon in microbial competition – Jonas Schluter – ISME Journal

“We test the predictions of our model using the enteric pathogen Vibrio cholerae, which produces an extracellular matrix important for biofilm formation. “

Microbes in the news:

* Google Hangout on Friday: MicroSeminar: A new way of doing conferences – Pat Schloss

“You will not see HMP Girl, no quotes of specious statistics, no mention of obscure disease, and no venturing into the weeds of bioinformatics. I will be describing unpublished experiments from the lab where we have taken various sources of microorganisms and used them to colonize mice that lack their own microbiota.”

‘Grapes of Wrath’: Stomping out grape disease one vineyard at a time – Phys.org

“A Rochester Institute of Technology scientist and an RIT alumnus are close to completing the genetic blueprint, or microbiome, of grape crown gall tumor disease—the bane of vineyards worldwide. ”

Redefining Human: The Microbiome Documentary Series – Root House Studio – Kickstarter

“We know science documentaries can be painfully boring, so Redefining Human will use a variety of new techniques to turn this complex science into an informative and entertaining documentary series.”

What’s in my microbiome? – Richard Sprague

“To find out what’s in my microbiome now, I bought a $400 kit from the San Francisco company uBiome. “

Science, publishing and career

* Rise of the Rest: The Growing Impact of Non-Elite Journals – Anurag Acharya – Google / Arxiv

“Our analysis indicates that the number of top-1000 papers published in non-elite journals for the representative subject category went from 149 in 1995 to 245 in 2013, a growth of 64%.”

Review rewards – Welcome efforts are being made to recognize academics who give up their time to peer review – Nature Editorial

“A welcome movement is under way to publicly register and recognize the hitherto invisible efforts of referees.”

Overqualified or underqualified? – Carrie Arnold – Science

“As unemployment stretched from weeks into months, Milstein decided that her Ph.D. was working against her. “

 

Satire: Facebook Offers To Freeze Female Employee’s Newborn Children – The Onion

“Women deserve to have the option to postpone motherhood until they feel fully prepared, which is why Facebook will also cover the cryonic facility’s annual maintenance costs for as many years as our employees feel they need. “

Bik’s Picks

360-Degree View of the Tomato – Anna Azvolinsky – The Scientist

“Researchers have sequenced 360 varieties of the tomato plant to create a comprehensive map of the evolution of the fruit from its wild form to the modern varieties. “

Extinct giant kangaroos didn’t hop, they walked – Andy Coghlan – New Scientist

“They had faces like rabbits and some were 2 metres tall. But now it seems that an extinct giant kangaroo didn’t hop – it walked.“

 

Chimpanzees have favorite ‘tool set’ for hunting staple food of army ants – Science Daily

“New research shows that chimpanzees search for the right tools from a key plant species when preparing to ‘ant dip’ — a crafty technique enabling them to feast on army ants without getting bitten. “

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Microbiome Digest, October 9, 2014

Human microbiome general

Advancing the Microbiome Research Community – Curtis Huttenhower – Cell

“We outline opportunities in interdisciplinary research, analytical rigor, standardization, and policy development for this relatively new and rapidly developing field. “

Human oral microbiome

Bioinformatic investigation of the cost management strategies of five oral microbes – K.J. Cross – Molecular Oral Microbiology

“The aim of this study was to investigate if five oral bacterial species implement cost management strategies to reduce the energy burden of extracellular unrecyclable proteins.”

Human skin microbiome

Identification of molecular mechanisms used by Finegoldia magna to penetrate and colonize human skin – Elizabeth C. Murphy – Molecular Microbiology

“This study examines the molecular mechanisms F. magna uses when colonizing or establishing an infection in the skin. “

Human gut microbiome

Bacterial ClpB heat-shock protein, an antigen-mimetic of the anorexigenic peptide α-MSH, at the origin of eating disorders – N Tennoune – Translational Psychiatry

“Here, using proteomics, we identified ClpB heat-shock disaggregation chaperone protein of commensal gut bacteria Escherichia coli as a conformational antigen mimetic of α-MSH.”

Animal models of microbiome research

Effects of essential oil supplementation of a low-energy diet on performance, intestinal morphology and microflora, immune properties and antioxidant activities in weaned pigs – Zhikai Zeng – Animal Science Journal

Soil microbiome

Poster presentation: Starting study of microbial genetics diversity in soils of mangrove preserved in sergipe – Karla Cristina Santos Freire – BMC Proceedings

“This paper proposes the characterization and evaluation of structures and diversity of microbial communities in the soil of mangroves in three conservation areas located in Sergipe.“

Community assembly of ectomycorrhizal fungi along a subtropical secondary forest succession – Cheng Gao – New Phytologist

“We examined the communities of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi in young, intermediate and old forests in a Chinese subtropical ecosystem, using 454 pyrosequencing”

Metagenomics / Bioinformatics

Functional phylogenomics analysis of bacteria and archaea using consistent genome annotation with UniFam – Juanjuan Chai – BMC Evolutionary Biology

“A total of 14,727 GenBank prokaryotic genomes were re-annotated using a new protein family database, UniFam, to obtain consistent functional annotations for accurate comparison. “

More Microbiology

Halting harmful helminths – Karl F. Hoffmann, Paul J. Brindley, Matthew Berriman – Science

“More than 300 million people are infected each year with parasitic flatworms such as hydatid tapeworms and blood fluke schistosomes. “

Chromosome position effects on gene expression in Escherichia coli K-12 – Jack A. Bryant – Nucleic Acids Research

“Here, using Escherichia coli K-12, we demonstrate that expression of a reporter gene cassette, comprised of the model E. coli lac promoter driving expression of gfp, varies by ∼300-fold depending on its precise position on the chromosome. “

Microbes in the news

‘Good Poop’ Diet Is the Next Big Thing – Daniela Drake – The Daily Beast

“Now a new book, The Skinny Gut Diet, by nutritionist Brenda Watson, tracks the progress of people who follow a diet specifically designed to alter the gut microbiome. “

Another probiotic advantage: Bacteria protects against heavy metal poisoning – Jim Algar – Tech Times

“Probiotic bacteria found in yogurt can protect people from the effects of exposure to heavy metals, particularly in pregnant women and children, a Canadian study suggests.”

Science, publishing, career

The scientists who get credit for peer review – Richard Van Noorden – Nature

“Publons rewards researchers for putting their peer-review activity online. Nature spoke to the startup’s co-founder and two super-users.”

Meet the New Underclass: People With Ph.D.s in Science – Mark Strauss – iO9

“Once upon a time, newly-minted science Ph.D.s would get research jobs at a senior scientist’s laboratory, to train and hone the ideas they would explore at their own labs. But now the supply of post-doctoral students is outpacing demand, creating a new, hyper-educated underclass.”

Glut of postdoc researchers stirs quiet crisis in science –  Carolyn Y. Johnson – Boston Globe

Japan’s Missing Female Scientists – Jack Grove – Times Higher Education

“Too many female scientists are leaving Japan because they do not feel they can get ahead in its “male-dominated” society, a senior university leader has said.”

Bik’s Picks

Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art – Pallab Ghosh – BBC

“Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.”

A timeline of a baby’s first hour – Laura Sanders – Science News

Fired science teacher did not have state license – 9 News

“The teacher fired after his science experiment injured four students, one seriously, did not have a valid Colorado teacher’s license.”

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Microbiome digest, October 8, 2014

Blogging from our yearly retreat in Santa Cruz, California: Rethinking Enterotypes, Wolbachia phylogenomics,  hydrothermal vents, and the influence of salamanders on soil microbiome.

Human Microbiome General

Genes & cells: Body microbes make useful molecules: Human microbiome produces thousands of drug candidates – Tina Hesman Saey – Science News

Human Gut Microbiome

Rethinking “Enterotypes” – Dan Knights – Cell Host and Microbe

“However, as discussed here, several different methods of collapsing enterotype variation into a few discrete clusters suggest that enterotype distribution is continuous and can vary widely within an individual.”

Fecal Bacterial Community Changes Associated with Isoflavone Metabolites in Postmenopausal Women after Soy Bar Consumption – Cindy H. Nakatsu – PLOS ONE

“Using DGGE profiles of PCR amplified 16S rRNA genes (V3 region) to compare microbial communities in fecal samples collected one week before and one week during soy supplementation revealed significant differences (ANOSIM p<0.03) before and after soy supplementation in all subjects. “

Insect microbiome

Phylogenomic analyses uncover origin and spread of the Wolbachia pandemic – Michael Gerth  – Nature Communications

“Here we present the first comprehensive phylogenomic analysis of Wolbachia supergroup relationships based on new whole-genome-shotgun data.”

Coral microbiome

Comparing Bacterial Community Composition of Healthy and Dark Spot-Affected Siderastrea siderea in Florida and the Caribbean – Christina A. Kellogg – PLOS ONE

“Microbial-community DNA was extracted from coral samples (mucus, tissue, and skeleton), amplified using bacterial-specific primers, and applied to PhyloChip G3 microarrays to examine the bacterial diversity associated with this coral. “

Soil Microbiome

Summer temperature increase has distinct effects on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of moist tussock and dry tundra in Arctic Alaska – Luis N. Morgado – Global Change Biology

“We used Ion Torrent sequencing of the rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region to compare ECM fungal communities in plots with and without long-term experimental warming in both dry and moist tussock tundra.”

A metagenomics-based approach to the top-down effect on the detritivore food web: a salamanders influence on fungal communities within a deciduous forest – Donald M. Walker – Ecology and Evolution

“From each sample, DNA was extracted, fungal-specific amplification performed, and 454 pyrosequencing was used to sequence the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region and partial ribosomal large subunit (LSU).”

Water microbiome

Evolutionary Strategies of Viruses, Bacteria and Archaea in Hydrothermal Vent Ecosystems Revealed through Metagenomics – Rika E Anderson – PLOS ONE

“Here, we explore the evolutionary strategies of both microorganisms and viruses in hydrothermal systems through comparative analysis of a cellular and viral metagenome, “

Metabolomics

Discovery and Characterization of Gut Microbiota Decarboxylases that Can Produce the Neurotransmitter Tryptamine – Brianna B. Williams – -Cell Host and Microbe

“Using a combination of genetics, biochemistry, and crystallography, we identify and characterize two phylogenetically distinct enzymes found in the human microbiome that decarboxylate tryptophan to form the β-arylamine neurotransmitter

Techniques

Selective Microbial Genomic DNA Isolation Using Restriction Endonucleases – Helen E. Barnes – PLOS ONE

“Using synthetic genome mixtures, we demonstrate 80% recovery of Escherichia coli genomic DNA even when only femtogram quantities are spiked into 10 µg of human DNA background.”

 More Microbiology

Pseudomonas aeruginosa eradicates Staphylococcus aureus by manipulating the host immunity – Erwan Pernet – Nature Communications

“Our results indicate that a bacterium can eradicate another bacterium by manipulating the host immunity.”

Preparation and evaluation of low-calorie functional ice cream containing inulin, lactulose and Bifidobacterium lactis  – Majid Hashemi- International Journal of Dairy Technology

“This study was aimed to investigate the effects of replacing 5% fat and sugar by inulin and lactulose, respectively, on the survival of Bifidobacterium lactis and physicochemical and sensorial characteristics of the ice cream. “

Microbes in the News

Second Genome, Mayo Clinic team up to explore the microbiome – Stephanie M. Lee – SF Gate

“Second Genome will identify up to eight conditions in which the microbiome potentially plays a role, and the Mayo Clinic will provide human clinical samples for patients with those diseases.”

 Oral health affects overall health – PhillyTrib

“The evidence shows that an infection from periodontitis, or gum disease, can put you at risk for other serious conditions like heart disease, stroke and more.”

Safety Bees: Bacteria From Bees Used To Fight Infections – The Ledger

 “A group of 13 lactic-acid bacteria found in fresh honey from the honey stomach of bees could be the key to bringing an old folk remedy into modern science”

Bik’s Picks  

How dinosaurs divided their meals at the Jurassic dinner table – Science Daily

“How the largest animals to have ever walked on Earth fed, and how this allowed them to live alongside one another in prehistoric ecosystems, is the subject of new research.”

Imitation, Genetic Lineages, and Time Influenced the Morphological Evolution of the Violin – Daniel H. Chitwood – PLOS ONE

“Here, I provide an analysis of morphological evolution in the violin family, sampling the body shapes of over 9,000 instruments over 400 years of history.”

Cat Watch 2014: What’s it like being a cat? – BBC

“Cats are at a crucial point in their evolutionary journey as they transform from solitary hunters to domestic pets, a study by the BBC and the Royal Veterinary College has revealed.”
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General microbiology and science digest, October 7, 2014

Transmission of Staph aureus in the hospital, a new assembler tool, metabolomics of the human gut microbiome, and a polio virus spill in Belgium.

More Microbes

Absence of Patient-to-Patient Intrahospital Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus as Determined by Whole-Genome Sequencing – S. Wesley Long – mBio

“To identify patient-to-patient intrahospital transmission using high-resolution genetic analysis, we sequenced the genomes of a consecutive set of 398 S. aureus isolates from sterile-site infections. “

Bioinformatics

Improved Assemblies Using a Source-Agnostic Pipeline for MetaGenomic Assembly by Merging (MeGAMerge) of Contigs – Matthew Scholz, Chien-Chi Lo & Patrick S. G. Chain – Nature Scientific Reports

“MeGAMerge consistently outperforms individual assembly methods, producing larger contigs with an increased number of predicted genes, without replication of data. “

Inferring phylogenies of evolving sequences without multiple sequence alignment – Cheong Xin Chan – Nature Scientific Reports

“Here, using simulated sequence sets of various sizes in both nucleotides and amino acids, we systematically assess the accuracy of phylogenetic inference using an alignment-free approach, based on D2 statistics, under different evolutionary scenarios. “

Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome – Coursera / University of Colorado Boulder

“Join us on a guided tour of the human gut and its microscopic inhabitants.”

Metabolomics

Modelling the emergent dynamics and major metabolites of the human colonic microbiota – Helen Kettle – Environmental Microbiology

“To reduce the complexity of the system, we divide the bacterial community into 10 bacterial functional groups (BFGs) each distinguished by its substrate preferences, metabolic pathways and its preferred pH range. “

Microbes in the news

* Petri Dish: The third branch of life – David Woodland – Summit Daily

“In addition to being an interesting branch on the tree of life, archaebacteria have turned out to be an incredibly valuable source of new products for science and industry. “

Pharmaceutical Giant GlaxoSmithKline “Accidentally” Released 45 Liters of Concentrated Live Polio Virus in the Environment – Global Research

“As reported to ECDC by Belgian authorities, on 2 September 2014, following a human error, 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution were released into the environment by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Rixensart city, Belgium.”

Science, publishing and career

* Science is innate! (behind a paywall, even at Stanford) – Jack A Gilbert – Genome Biology

“….when I am asked, as I often am, about how my research findings have influenced my day-to-day activities, I like to take a step back and think about what it means to be a scientist.”

Why I have taken a leave of absence from Science: to protest the abrupt firing of 4 colleagues – Michael Balter – Letter to Science

“Thus it is particularly painful and sad for me to tell you that I will be taking a three-month leave of absence in protest of recent events at Science and within its publishing organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Bik’s Picks

Killer whales learn to communicate like dolphins – Science Daily

“…killer whales can engage in cross-species vocal learning: when socialized with bottlenose dolphins, they shifted the sounds they made to more closely match their social partners.”

NASA selects astrobiologists to study life origins and extraterrestrial possibilities – Jim Algar – Tech Times

“NASA announced 5-year grants adding up to nearly $50 million for seven research groups across the U .S. to study life in the universe and its origins, distribution, evolution and future.”

The most passive aggressive acknowledgement ever – BioDataGanache – SciEasterEggs

“The authors in this paper put some serious time in on this sucker, and they wanted to make a statement about it.”

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