Microbiome digest, October 24, 2014

Microbiome of placentas, infant respiratory microbiome, metabolomics, mutipartite genomes, microbes in the news, and some weekend picks.
Human microbiome general

Microbiome/microbiota and allergies – Yuzaburo Inoue, Naoki Shimojo – Seminars in Immunopathology

“In this review, we summarize the recent findings regarding the importance of the microbiome/microbiota in the development of allergic diseases and also the results of interventional studies using probiotics or prebiotics to prevent allergies.”

Pregnancy and birth

Term and preterm labour are associated with distinct microbial community structures in placental membranes which are independent of mode of delivery – Ronan M. Doyle – Placenta

“In this study, 16S rDNA pyrosequencing was used to identify bacteria in placental membranes. Caesarean sections and vaginal deliveries at term were found to harbour common genera”

Early Respiratory Microbiota Composition Determines Bacterial Succession Patterns and Respiratory Health in Children – Giske Biesbroek – Am J Respir Crit Care Med.

“Upper respiratory microbiota profiles of 60 healthy children at the ages of 1.5, 6, 12 and 24 months were characterized by 16S-based pyrosequencing”

From the “old NEC” to the “new NECs” – Melania Puddu – Journal of Pediatric and Neonatal Individualized Medicine

“This review describes in detail the new NECs especially those which affect preterm infants: contagion or lymphocytosis associated, transfusion associated and cow’s milk allergy associated.”


The effects of variable sample biomass on comparative metagenomics – Meghan Chafee – Environmental Microbiology

“We investigated the interacting effects of DNA input and library amplification by PCR on comparative metagenomic analysis using dilutions of a single complex template from an Arabidopsis-associated microbial community.”


The nexus of syntrophy-associated microbiota in anaerobic digestion revealed by long-term enrichment and community survey – Takashi Narihiro – Environmental Microbiology

“16S pyrotag analysis revealed core populations of known syntrophs (six clades) and methanogens (nine clades) associated with acid degradation, and evidence for substrate- and/or inoculum-dependent specificity in syntrophic partnerships.”

In Vitro Fermentation of Lactulose by Human Gut Bacteria – Bingyong Mao – Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

“This study aimed to identify lactulose-metabolizing bacteria in the human gut, using in-silico and traditional culture methods. “

Epigenomic regulation of host–microbiota interactions – Theresa Alenghat, David Artis – Trends in Immunology

“We review recent advances in understanding the interplay between the microbiota and mammalian epigenomic pathways, and highlight emerging findings that implicate a central role for histone deacetylases (HDACs) in orchestrating host–microbiota interactions.”

More microbiology

Examination of Prokaryotic Multipartite Genome Evolution through Experimental Genome Reduction – George C. diCenzo – PLOS Genetics

“To gain insight into the role and evolutionary history of these replicons, we have ‘reversed evolution’ by constructing a S. meliloti strain consisting solely of the chromosome and lacking the pSymB chromid and pSymA megaplasmid.”

Microbes in the news

How An Antibiotic Gene Jumped All Over The Tree of Life – Ed Yong – National Geographic

“Metcalf showed that it has also jumped from bacteria into every other major branch of life. It’s in animals, plants, fungi, archaea, and even some viruses.”

Research investigates bacteria on banknotes – Harper Adams University

“This study investigates how easy it is for bacteria and pathogens to survive on currency and whether the material the notes are made of, has an effect on the transfer.”

How millennials will save us all – Jennifer Block – Quartz

“Millennials get a bad rap for loading up on debt, mooching off their parents, and hiding behind technology. But there’s one problem that they may be particularly suited to tackling: our shrinking microbiome.“

Bik’s Picks

World’s Most Asked Questions: How Much Water Should I Drink a Day? – SciShow – Youtube

“People ask Google everything under the sun. One of the most commonly searched questions in the world is “How much water should I drink a day?” SciShow has the answer!”

Ten Simple Rules for Writing a PLOS Ten Simple Rules Article – Harriet Dashnow – PLOS Computational Biology

“This search left us wanting, until we discovered the PLOS Ten Simple Rules collection. We have found them to be a series of concise articles that capture the professional zeitgeist of being a scientist in an approachable manner.”

Satire: Ambitious New High-Speed Rail Plan Will Fly Americans To Japan To Use Their Trains – The Onion

“The transit system that the U.S. has needed for so long is now just a 7,000-mile plane journey to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and a brief passage through Japanese customs away,” Obama continued.”

Human microbiomes, June 5

Today we have some commentaries on recent papers about microbiotas in malnutrition or on placentas, and new papers about oral bacteria in the bloodstream, helminths, and coincidental killers.

Oral microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.59.36 PMDissemination of Periodontal Pathogens in the Bloodstream after Periodontal Procedures: A Systematic Review – Anna Carolina Ratto Tempestini Horliana – PLOS ONE

“MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS databases were searched in duplicate through August, 2013 without language restriction. Observational studies were included if blood samples were collected before, during or after periodontal procedures of patients with periodontitis”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.56.12 PMThe Emerging Landscape of Salivary Diagnostics – Yong Zhang- OHDM – Omics Online

“Here we review recent developments in salivary diagnostics that have been accomplished using salivaomics, the mechanisms of saliva diagnostics, as well as the translational and clinical application of saliva biomarkers”

Gut microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 7.57.14 PMInfection and Co-infection with Helminths and Plasmodium among School Children in Côte d’Ivoire: Results from a National Cross-Sectional Survey – Richard B. Yapi – PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

“We carried out the first national survey on parasitic worm and Plasmodium infection among children in 92 schools all over Côte d’Ivoire. Questionnaires were administered to determine the children’s socioeconomic status and infection-related risk factors. We found an overall prevalence of Plasmodium infection of 63.3%.”

ColonSome Antibiotics May Slightly Increase Colon Cancer Risk – Bahar Gholipour – LiveScience

“The researchers compared the amount of antibiotics the patients had taken at least six months before being diagnosed with cancer, to the amount of antibiotics taken by a group of about 86,000 healthy people.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.07.58 AMWhy Can’t Once-Malnourished Children “Catch Up”? Answer May Lie in Gut – Karen Weintraub – National Geographic

“There’s something lacking in our current approach to treatment,” said Gordon, who suspects the children may need to eat therapeutic foods for longer and/or get supplements of probiotics, or beneficial microorganisms, to catch up. “We need to think of food as interacting with this microbial organ.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.03.26 PMSevere hunger can have lasting effects for gut health, study finds – MedicalXPress

“Nutrition therapy has saved the lives of millions of malnourished infants, but may not restore an imbalance in gut bacteria that is key to long-term health and vitality, researchers said Wednesday.”

Pregnancy and birth

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.05.15 PMGearing up for a closer look at the human placenta – Jocelyn Kaiser – Science

“A placenta sustained you and every person ever born for 9 months, serving as your lungs and kidneys and pumping out hormones while you developed in the womb. Problems with this disk-shaped mass of tissue can contribute to everything from preterm births to diseases of middle age. Yet when a baby is born, hospitals usually throw the placenta away.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 9.57.32 AMMicrobirth: Why ‘Seeding Baby’s Microbiome’ Needs to Be on Every Birth Plan – Toni Harman – HuffingtonPost

“The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother’s own bacteria at birth, then the baby’s microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left “incomplete”.”

General human microbiome

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.07.51 PMCoincidental killers – We assume that microbes evolved to attack humans when actually we are just civilian casualties in a much older war – Ed Yong – Aeon Magazine

“And some supposedly pathogenic bacteria were often common parts of the environment. ‘These organisms become accidental pathogens,’ says the microbiologist Arturo Casadevall from Yeshiva University in New York. ‘They’ll still be there even if you remove all the animals from the planet. And yet, evolution selected for just the right combination of traits to cause disease in humans.’”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.12.08 PMSilicon Valley’s Top Ten Tech Trends – Jacqueline Vanacek – Forbes
Trend #7: Data-driven healthcare (from your gut).

The combination of personal health and fitness data, genomics, and even microbiomics will drive healthcare choices from real outcomes and individual probabilities. And since the bacteria in our digestive tracks has greater influence on our health than previously known, we really are what we eat!

Microbiome and Bioinformatics

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 8.11.20 PMBOTUX: Bayesian–like operational taxonomic unit examiner – Vishal N. Koparde – International Journal of Computational Biology and Drug Design

“Bayesian–like operational taxonomic unit examiner (BOTUX) is a new tool for the classification of 16S rRNA gene sequences into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) that addresses the problem of overestimation caused by errors introduced during PCR amplification and DNA sequencing steps”