Microbiome digest, November 12, 2014

Another short installment of the Digest. Two studies on microbial DNA contamination in reagents and laboratories, and gut microbiome in Down Syndrome.
Human gut microbiome

* Gut Microbiome in Down Syndrome – Elena Biagi – PLOS ONE

* Superresolution Imaging Captures Carbohydrate Utilization Dynamics in Human Gut Symbionts – Krishanthi S. Karunatilaka – mBio

Microbiota Talks Cholera out of the Gut – Amanda J. Hay, Jun Zhu – Cell Host & Microbe


Animal microbiome

Comparative Metagenomic Analysis of Coral Microbial Communities Using a Reference-Independent Approach – Camila Carlos – PLOS ONE

The Effect of Antibiotics on Associated Bacterial Community of Stored Product Mites – Jan Kopecky – PLOS ONE


Metagenomic Insights into the RDX-Degrading Potential of the Ovine Rumen Microbiome – Robert W. Li – PLOS ONE

Plant microbiome

Functional Potential of Soil Microbial Communities in the Maize Rhizosphere – Xiangzhen Li – PLOS ONE

* Genome-wide association study of Arabidopsis thaliana leaf microbial community – Matthew W. Horton – Nature Communications

Environmental microbiome

A method for sampling microbial aerosols using high altitude balloons – N.C. Bryan – Journal of Microbiological Methods


(preprint already featured here in July, but now officially out)
* Reagent and laboratory contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses – Susannah J Salter – BMC Biology

* Diverse and Widespread Contamination Evident in the Unmapped Depths of High Throughput Sequencing Data – Richard W. Lusk – PLOS ONE


Reconceptualising the beta diversity-environmental heterogeneity relationship in running water systems – Jani Heino – Freshwater Biology

Microbes in the news

* Contaminomics: Why Some Microbiome Studies May Be Wrong – Ed Yong – National Geographic

* The Kitome: Dealing with the reagent microbiome – Pat Schloss – Mothur.org

DNA Extraction Kits Contaminated – Kerry Grens – The Scientist

Bik’s Picks

Serotonin lies at the intersection of pain and itch – Bethany Brookshire – ScienceNews

Rainbow palette found in Brooklyn’s contaminated water – Aviva Rutkin – New Scientist

This did not work on my cats, but feel free to try:
‘Cat Circles’, The Amazing Phenomenon In Which a Cat Will Always Sit Inside a Circle on the Floor – Lori Dorn – Laughing Squid


Microbiome Digest, August 1, 2014

Microbiome composition and vaccine response or chemotherapy, cassava beer, two nice articles about metagenomics tools and contamination, and the weekend picks.

Human gut microbiome

Stool Microbiota and Vaccine Responses of Infants – M. Nazmul Huda – Pediatrics

“Actinobacteria abundance was positively associated with T-cell responses to BCG, OPV, and TT; with the delayed-type hypersensitivity response; with immunoglobulin G responses; and with TI. B longum subspecies infantis correlated positively with TI and several vaccine responses. “

Systematic review: the role of the gut microbiota in chemotherapy- or radiation-induced gastrointestinal mucositis – current evidence and potential clinical applications – Y. Touchefeu – Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics

“Search of the literature published in English using Medline, Scopus and the Cochrane Library, with main search terms ‘intestinal microbiota’, ‘bacteremia’, ‘mucositis’, ‘chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea’, ‘chemotherapy-induced mucositis’, ‘radiotherapy-induced mucositis’.”

Food microbiology

Local domestication of lactic acid bacteria via cassava beer fermentation – Alese M. Colehour – PeerJ

“Bacteria responsible for chicha fermentation could be a source of microbes for the human microbiome, but little is known regarding the microbiology of chicha. “

Microbes in the News

It’s a bit – eh – graphic, but a nice overview of science and the people working in this field. I wish it would have contained a couple of pictures of non-pregnant women though. It feels as if we are only a vessel:  The Body’s Ecosystem – The Scientist

“Research on the human microbiome is booming, and scientists have moved from simply taking stock of gut flora to understanding the influence of microbes throughout the body.”

‘I’m not fat, it’s viral’ – Phage found in gut bacteria may aid obesity – Dan Stanton 0 Biopharma Reporter

“A newly discovered virus which infects intestinal bacteria might be a cause of obesity, but could increasing interest in bacteriophages drive new personalised medicines and alternatives to antibiotics?”

Diet Must be Different for Men and Women: Study – Soumo Ghosh – International Business Times

“The researchers found that the microscopic bacteria, or other such organism housed inside the human stomach are different in the case of men and women. Hence, they believe that the same diet for both may not have the same effect in them.”


Emergent Biosynthetic Capacity in Simple Microbial Communities – Hsuan-Chao Chiu – PLOS Computational Biology

“Here we present a comprehensive computational framework, integrating high-quality metabolic models of multiple species, temporal dynamics, and flux variability analysis, to study the metabolic capacity and dynamics of simple two-species microbial ecosystems.”


Metagenomics Mash-Up – Kelly Rae Chi – The Scientist

“The Scientist spoke with developers of tools for parsing genomic data from diverse communities of microorganisms. Here are some of the newest strategies and programs for taxonomic, functional, and comparative analyses.”

Microbial detection

Who are the contaminants in your sequencing project? – Jonathan Eisen – MicrobeNet

“Such amplification is alas pretty common – due to contamination occurring in some other material added to the PCR reaction. “

Science and publishing

The Self-Edited Woman – Paige Brown – SciLogs International

“Un-prompted, several young female science bloggers I’ve interviewed mention having blogged anonymously in the past, being self-conscious about expressing their expertise on a topic, or avoiding certain topics because of the nasty comments they might receive. “

Bik’s Picks

We have the science to build an Ebola vaccine. So why hasn’t it happened? – Sarah Kliff – Vox

“This isn’t how an Ebola outbreak has to work. Researchers have devoted lots of time to building a vaccine that could stop the disease altogether — and according to Daniel Bausch, a Tulane professor who researches Ebola and other infectious diseases, they’re making really significant progress.”

Littering and Following the Crowd – Vivian Wagner – The Atlantic

“Why it’s so tempting to throw trash on the ground, and how environmentalists are using psychology to change that”

F.D.A. Acts on Lab Tests Developed In-House – Andrew Pollack – The New York Times

“The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it would start regulating medical laboratory testing, saying that tests used to make important treatment decisions must be vetted and validated before they go into use.”

Grad Student Freed By Police After Three Years Trapped In The Same Experiment – The Allium

“He is thought to have survived by eating printouts of PloS One papers and drinking his own tears.”


Microbiome Digest, July 25

A year worth of oral/stool samples shows relative stability, antibiotics and preterm infants, reagent contamination, and 42. Have a great weekend!


Oral and gut microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.45.01 PMHost lifestyle affects human microbiota on daily timescales – Lawrence A David – Genome Biology

“Here, we link over 10,000 longitudinal measurements of human wellness and action to the daily gut and salivary microbiota dynamics of two individuals over the course of one year. These time series show overall microbial communities to be stable for months. However, rare events in each subjects’ life rapidly and broadly impacted microbiota dynamics. “

Pregnancy and Birth

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.44.20 PMThe impact of postnatal antibiotics on the preterm intestinal microbiome – Majd Dardas – Pediatric Research

“Rectal (fecal) swabs were collected at 10 and 30 d and analyzed by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. At both time points, we examined the rectal microbiome from infants who received only 2 d of antibiotics and those who received at least 7 d of antibiotics.”


Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.45.50 PMReagent contamination can critically impact sequence-based microbiome analyses – Susannah Salter – BioRxiv (preprint)

“In this study we demonstrate that contaminating DNA is ubiquitous in commonly used DNA extraction kits, varies greatly in composition between different kits and kit batches, and that this contamination critically impacts results obtained from samples containing a low microbial biomass. “


Speaking about “matter of timing”, seems like this paper came out a bit too late.
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.46.14 PMDengue and the World Football Cup: A Matter of Timing – Christovam Barcellos, Rachel Lowe – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“We provide a nationwide risk map, averaging June dengue incidence rates for 2001–2012. The areas along the Amazonian rivers and in the inner portions of southernmost states are actually low-risk areas, while elevated dengue risk is found in the central Brazilian plateau.”

Infection and host response

Don’t forget your towel! Even the issue number, 1004201, contains the “The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. Perfection.
Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.46.22 PMMicrobial Egress: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Freedom – Ana Traven, Thomas Naderer – PLOS Pathogens

“The Restaurant at the End of the Infection — Macrophages as Host Cells”
“So Long and Thanks for All the Inflammatory Cell Death”

Dr. Bik’s Picks

crowSmarter than a first-grader? Crows can perform as well as 7- to 10-year-olds on cause-and-effect water displacement tasks

“New research conducted by UC Santa Barbara’s Corina Logan, with her collaborators at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, demonstrates the birds’ intellectual prowess may be more fact than fiction.”

JBC Journal of Biological ChemistryFour billion-year-old chemistry in cells today – Phys.org

“Parts of the primordial soup in which life arose have been maintained in our cells today according to scientists at the University of East Anglia.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.47.50 PMDustup Over Lionfish Science Fair Project – Bob Grant – The Scientist

A former graduate student says he feels slighted by a failure to attribute his contributions to a line of research regarding the salinity tolerances of an invasive species. “I’m not sure what happened, but my main issue is that the national media has presented a story that is sensationalized, and has left me out of the picture.”