Repeated evolution in sticklebacks, and adjacent possibles

“Researchers have documented repeated evolution in other organisms, but the sticklebacks are unique because the freshwater transition has occurred so many times. “Sticklebacks have been a phenomenal system for understanding rapid evolution,” says evolutionary biologist Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This paper shows that repeated […]

The Impact of a Consortium of Fermented Milk Strains on the Gut Microbiome of Gnotobiotic Mice and Monozygotic Twins

“The results also showed that (i) consumption of an FMP containing five bacterial strains was not associated with a statistically significant change in the proportional representation of resident community members within and between individuals; (ii) the appearance and disappearance of strains comprising the FMP consortium did not exhibit familial patterns in the fecal microbiota; and […]

Bacterial genomics: A new source of antimicrobial targets : Nature Reviews Microbiology

“Bacterial clone-based genome sequencing frequently results in gaps, which harbour hypothetical genes of unknown function. Sorek and colleagues show that these gaps contain a vast array of genes encoding proteins that are toxic to the sequencing host (Escherichia coli), including previously uncharacterized restriction enzymes, toxin–antitoxin systems and non-coding RNAs.” Of course, to me, this is […]

Macro and Micro Diversity of Clostridium difficile Isolates from Diverse Sources and Geographical Locations – PLoS ONE

“Clostridium difficile has emerged rapidly as the leading cause of antibiotic-associated diarrheal disease, with the temporal and geographical appearance of dominant PCR ribotypes. We have undertaken a breadth genotyping study using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis of 385 C. difficile strains from diverse sources by host (human, animal and food), geographical locations (North America, Europe […]

Vaccine development: Man vs MRSA : Nature News

“For decades, Robert Daum has studied the havoc wreaked by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Now he thinks he can stop it for good.” Excellent story of the fight against MRSA by the guy who first made us aware of it.   Read this article… Image from Nature

Hacking yogurt

As a card carrying practical microbiologist, I like making yogurt – cheap and easy to make and very good for your tummy (see here for more on yogurt and a recipe you can use). But I admit I’m not too adventurous: the most I do is try different cultures, flavors, or milks (latest was goat […]

Incorporating microorganisms into polymer layers provides bioinspired functional living materials

“Artificial two-dimensional biological habitats were prepared from porous polymer layers and inoculated with the fungus Penicillium roqueforti to provide a living material. Such composites of classical industrial ingredients and living microorganisms can provide a novel form of functional or smart materials with capability for evolutionary adaptation. We demonstrated a design of such living materials and […]

Friendly bacteria move in mysterious ways : Nature News

“Many yoghurts are loaded with live bacteria, and labelled with claims that consuming these microorganisms can be good for your health. But a study published today shows that such yoghurts have only subtle effects on the bacteria already in the gut and do not replace them.” Yes, but the paper goes to point out that […]