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Interesting facts about Microorganisms

November - 2019

Interaction with fungus containing nitrogen-fixing endobacteria improves rice nitrogen nutrition

        Researchers Karnelia Paul of the University of Calcutta (India), Chinmay Saha of the University of Kalyani (India), and Anindita Seal of the University of Calcutta (India) designed research to study nitrogen nutrition in rice. Nitrogen supply limits crop yields, but application of excess nitrogen fertilizer can pollute water and is expensive. Therefore, scientists are looking for beneficial microbes that could assist in providing plants with nitrogen by fixing nitrogen—converting atmospheric nitrogen to forms that plants can use. Such "green fertilizers" could improve grain yields without the need for application of chemical nitrogen fertilizers. Legumes such as soybeans have symbiotic bacteria that fix nitrogen, but most important grain crops, including rice, lack these bacteria.

Source: phys

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Bacteria may contribute more to climate change as planet heats up

        By releasing more carbon as global temperatures rise, bacteria and related organisms called archaea could increase climate warming at a faster rate than current models suggest. The new research, published today in Nature Communications by scientists from Imperial College London, could help inform more accurate models of future climate warming.

Source: phys

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New understanding of antibiotic synthesis

        Researchers at McGill University's Faculty of Medicine have made important strides in understanding the functioning of enzymes that play an integral role in the production of antibiotics and other therapeutics. Their findings are published in Science.

Source: phys

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Study of African animals illuminates links between environment, diet and gut microbiome

        In recent years, the field of microbiome research has grown rapidly, providing newfound knowledge—and newfound questions—about the microbes that inhabit human and animal bodies. A new study adds to that foundation of knowledge by using DNA analysis to examine the relationship between diet, the environment and the microbiome.

Source: phys

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October - 2019

Sewage, rivers and soils provide missing link in antibiotic resistance story

        If you think that the key to beating antibiotic resistance is only for doctors to prescribe less and scientists to find new drug candidates, you are probably wrong. The fundamental solutions may lie far from medicine—in managing our rivers and soils.

Source: phys

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Plant microbes suppress costly root immune responses to boost plant growth

        Beneficial microbes are considered a major promise for sustainable crop production. Utrecht researchers discovered that beneficial microbes on plant roots suppress host immunity to fully colonize and benefit their host plant, just like their disease-causing pathogenic counterparts. Their findings were published October 24 in Current Biology.

Source: phys

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Stress test separates tough bacteria from the tender

        Bacteria. Sometimes we can't live with 'em, but there's a growing appreciation that we can't live without 'em. Whether it's disease-causing pathogens or beneficial species that live in communities known as microbiomes, scientists agree on one thing—we need to know more about bacteria, particularly how they are built and how they live together.

Source: phys

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Computational 'match game' identifies potential antibiotics

        Computational biologists at Carnegie Mellon University have devised a software tool that can play a high-speed "Match Game" to identify bioactive molecules and the microbial genes that produce them so they can be evaluated as possible antibiotics and other therapeutic agents.

Source: phys

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September - 2019

Antibiotic-resistant genes found in London's canals and ponds

        Central London's freshwater sources contain high levels of antibiotic resistant genes, with the River Thames having the highest amount, according to research by UCL.

Source: phys

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Antibiotic-resistant genes found in London's canals and ponds

        Central London's freshwater sources contain high levels of antibiotic resistant genes, with the River Thames having the highest amount, according to research by UCL.

Source: phys

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Deepwater Horizon oil buried in Gulf Coast beaches could take decades to biodegrade

        Golf ball-size clods of weathered crude oil originating from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe could remain buried in sandy Gulf Coast beaches for decades, according to a new study by ecologists at Florida State University.

Source: phys

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Date palms picky about bacterial partners

        Bacterial DNA sequencing analyses show date palms that are cultivated over a vast stretch of the Tunisian Sahara Desert consistently attract two types of growth-promoting bacteria to their roots, regardless of the location. This finding could help with improving crop cultivation in a warming climate.

Source: phys

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August - 2019

Antibiotic-resistant genes found in London's canals and ponds

        Central London's freshwater sources contain high levels of antibiotic resistant genes, with the River Thames having the highest amount, according to research by UCL.

Source: phys

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Making microbes that transform greenhouse gases

        The new biologically-based technique, published in Nature Chemical Biology, was developed by USF Professor Ramon Gonzalez, Ph.D., and his research team. It utilizes the human enzyme, 2-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A lyase (HACL), to convert specific one-carbon (C1) materials into more complex compounds commonly used as the building blocks for an endless number of consumer and industrial products.

Source: phys

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Microbes have adapted to live on food that is hundreds of years old

        Microbial communities living in deep aquatic sediments have adapted to survive on degraded organic matter, according to a study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology and coauthored by professors at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Source: phys

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An ambitious plan to stop the rise of superbugs

        A headline that always catches my attention is that antibiotic resistance is on the rise. Underlying these headlines is that the disease-causing bacteria that make us sick are becoming less responsive to treatment by our most common antibiotics. If you read past the headline, you will see that the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by the year 2050, there will be 10 million deaths annually from antibiotic resistant bacteria (ARB). This would place ARB ahead of cancer as a leading cause of death worldwide. Those headlines assume that the world cannot do anything to intervene.

Source: phys

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July - 2019

Antibiotic-resistant genes found in London's canals and ponds

        Central London's freshwater sources contain high levels of antibiotic resistant genes, with the River Thames having the highest amount, according to research by UCL.

Source: phys

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New study reveals how TB bacteria may survive in human tissues

        Carbon monoxide is an infamous and silent killer that can cause death in minutes. But while it is deadly for us, some microorganisms actually thrive on it, by using this gas as an energy source.

Source: phys

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Just how resilient are biofilms?

        Biofilms hold promise for generating electricity and removing contamination from groundwater, but they also threaten many industrial processes and human health. As the environment changes in which these biofilms thrive, it is unclear how well these living systems will function. Earlier studies proved that certain biofilms were more resilient to changes in their environment, but how they survived was unclear. To help resolve the issue, researchers examined the molecular workings of model biofilms exposed to the toxic chemical, hexavalent chromium. Their work is helping understand biofilms' responses to stress.

Source: phys

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Could viruses affect climate? New study probes effects on global nutrient cycle

        Nowadays we're getting more used to the idea that entire ecosystems of tiny bacteria are living on our skin, in the soil of our gardens and within the oceans where we catch dinner.

Source: phys

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June - 2019

Plants may be transmitting superbugs to people

        Antibiotic-resistant infections are a threat to global public health, food safety and an economic burden. To prevent these infections, it is critical to understand how antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes are transmitted from both meat and plant-foods. Researchers have now shown how plant-foods serve as vehicles for transmitting antibiotic resistance to the gut microbiome. The research is presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Source: phys

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Antibiotic resistance in spore-forming probiotic bacteria

        New research has found that six probiotic Bacillus strains are resistant to several antibiotics. Genetic analysis of other Bacillus strains has shown genes that contribute to antibiotic resistance towards various types of drugs and methods in which they can still grow in their presence. The research is presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

Source: phys

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Frog protein may mitigate dangers posed by toxic marine microbes

        A new study from UC San Francisco suggests that a protein found in the common bullfrog may one day be used to detect and neutralize a poisonous compound produced by red tides and other harmful algal blooms. The discovery comes as these waterborne toxic events are becoming increasingly common, a consequence of climate change making the world's oceans more hospitable to the microbes responsible for these formerly infrequent flare-ups.

Source: phys

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Mapping the ocean's unseen heroes, one microbe at a time

        The picture of how climate change is impacting our ocean is often told via its larger inhabitants: scrawny polar bears, bleached coral, dwindling catch in fishing nets. But just as importantly, microscopic marine organisms play an essential role in our biosphere.

Source: phys

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May - 2019

Researchers map symbiotic relationships between trees and microbes worldwide

        In and around the tangled roots of the forest floor, fungi and bacteria grow with trees, exchanging nutrients for carbon in a vast, global marketplace. A new effort to map the most abundant of these symbiotic relationships involving more than 1.1 million forest sites and 28,000 tree species has revealed factors that determine where different types of symbionts will flourish. The work could help scientists understand how symbiotic partnerships structure the world's forests and how they could be affected by a warming climate.

Source: phys

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Natural environments favor 'good' bacteria

        A new study has shown that restoring environments to include a wider range of species can promote "good" bacteria over "bad" with potential benefits for human health. University of Adelaide researchers report, in the journal Environmental International, that degraded, low biodiversity land and soils tend to harbor more "opportunistic" bacteria, while healthy, biodiverse ecosystems favor more stable and specialist bacteria.

Source: phys

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Water stays in the pipes longer in shrinking cities – a challenge for public health

        The geographic locations where Americans live are shifting in ways that can negatively affect the quality of their drinking water. Cities that experience long-term, persistent population decline are called shrinking cities. Although shrinking cities exist across the U.S., they are concentrated in the American Rust Belt and Northeast. Urban shrinkage can be bad for drinking water in two ways: through aging infrastructure and reduced water demand.

Source: phys

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How your clothes influence the air you breathe

        Dusan Licina, a tenure-track assistant professor at the Smart Living Lab, EPFL Fribourg, has taken a critical look at how much we really know about our exposure to particles and chemicals transported by our clothing. His study concludes that further research is needed and opens up new areas of investigation.

Source: phys

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April - 2019

Infection biology: Gut microbe helps thwart Salmonella

        Salmonella enterica is the name of a group of rod-shaped bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis in humans and other animals. Salmonella infections can have serious consequences for certain high-risk groups, such as babies, young children, the elderly and individuals whose immune systems are functionally compromised. Most people with a normal complement of gut microflora (microbiota) generally have little difficulty coping with such infections. Only in 10-20% of cases in which the pathogens are ingested usually via contaminated food products does an infection actually result. But the members of the gut microbiota that are responsible for resistance to Salmonella are largely unknown. Now a group of researchers led by Professor Bärbel Stecher of LMU's Max von Pettenkofer Institute of Public Health [who is also affiliated with the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)] has identified one bacterial species which protects mice against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium one of the two most prevalent pathogenic subspecies found in Germany. The new findings appear in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Certain microbes may reduce allergy-like reactions in many people

        A small percentage of humans can suffer allergy-like reactions to certain varieties of ripened cheese due to histamine, a byproduct of the prolonged fermentation process. A researcher is studying bacterial strains that could reduce histamine, allowing susceptible diners to enjoy the cheese without unpleasant side effects.

Source: sciencedaily

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Microbes hitch a ride on high-flying dust

        Dust doesn't just accumulate under your bed. It can also travel for thousands of kilometers, across continents and oceans. A new study analyzed the microbial content of dust particles being transported from the deserts of central Asia to South Korea and Japan. The new research shows dust's potential for carrying potential pathogens to far-flung places, potentially impacting natural ecosystems and human health.

Source: Phys

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Microbes in the human body swap genes, even across tissue boundaries: study

        Bacteria in the human body are sharing genes with one another at a higher rate than is typically seen in nature, and some of those genes appear to be traveling—independent of their microbial hosts—from one part of the body to another, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Phys

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March - 2019

Urban biodiversity to lower chronic disease

        Replanting urban environments with native flora could be a cost effective way to improve public health because it will help 'rewild' the environmental and human microbiota, University of Adelaide researchers say.

Source: Phys

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Uncovering uncultivated microbes in the human gut

        A tree's growth is dependent on nutrients from the soil and water, as well as the microbes in, on, and around the roots. Similarly, a human's health is shaped both by environmental factors and the body's interactions with the microbiome, particularly in the gut. Genome sequences are critical for characterizing individual microbes and understanding their functional roles. However, previous studies have estimated that only 50 percent of species in the gut microbiome have a sequenced genome, in part because many species have not yet been cultivated for study.

Source: Phys

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The largest ever catalog of bacteria in the human body contain over 150 thousands genomes

        The largest ever catalog of bacterial and archaeal microbes commonly populating the human body across worldwide populations has been assembled. This is the main result of a new study coordinated by Nicola Segata and Edoardo Pasolli of the Laboratory of Computational Metagenomics at the University of Trento, Italy. The work appeared online in the scientific journal "Cell".

Source: Phys

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Sinister blastocystis: A clandestine killer of good bacteria revealed

        Since most of the microbes in our gut are bacteria, they tend to hog much of the microbiome research limelight. But lurking amongst the bacteria are other microbes such as single-cell eukaryotes (SCE) and viruses, which have been largely ignored until now. Doctors and scientists have previously regarded Blastocystis, among the most common gut SCEs, as a harmless commensal organism, peacefully co-existing with its bacterial neighbors. However, that could change with the publication of a new study from NUS Medicine in Microbiome demonstrating that a subtype of Blastocystis isolated from Singapore can actually harm its neighbors and its home in an insidious way.

Source: Phys

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February - 2019

'Mutation hotspot' allows common fungus to adapt to different host environments

        The fungus Candida albicans is found in the gastrointestinal tract of about half of healthy adults with little if any effect, yet it also causes an oft-fatal blood infection among patients with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS. New research from Brown University helps show how this fungus gets the flexibility to live in these vastly different environments.

Source: Phys

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Redox traits characterize the organization of global microbial communities

        To a great extent, living organisms control the flows of matter and energy through the planet, and the study of their interactions is the goal of ecology. While the roles or functions of multicellular organisms, such as trees or animals, are known or can be predicted from their taxonomy, this is not always possible in the case of microbes. Which are the attributes that best characterize the microbial communities that inhabit ecosystems and the ecological roles they perform?

Source: Phys

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New technique pinpoints milestones in the evolution of bacteria

        Bacteria have evolved all manner of adaptations to live in every habitat on Earth. But unlike plants and animals, which can be preserved as fossils, bacteria have left behind little physical evidence of their evolution, making it difficult for scientists to determine exactly when different groups of bacteria evolved.

Source: Phys

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European waters drive ocean overturning, key for regulating climate

        An international study reveals the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which helps regulate Earth's climate, is highly variable and primarily driven by the conversion of warm, salty, shallow waters into colder, fresher, deep waters moving south through the Irminger and Iceland basins. This upends prevailing ideas and may help scientists better predict Arctic ice melt and future changes in the ocean's ability to mitigate climate change by storing excess atmospheric carbon.

Source: Phys

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January - 2019

European waters drive ocean overturning, key for regulating climate

        An international study reveals the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which helps regulate Earth's climate, is highly variable and primarily driven by the conversion of warm, salty, shallow waters into colder, fresher, deep waters moving south through the Irminger and Iceland basins. This upends prevailing ideas and may help scientists better predict Arctic ice melt and future changes in the ocean's ability to mitigate climate change by storing excess atmospheric carbon.

Source: sciencedaily

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Opinion: Disease Prediction by Bat Virus Surveys Is a Waste

        As one who has studied bats worldwide for 60 years, I’m deeply concerned regarding the near avalanche of recent articles that needlessly frighten the public into intolerance of bats and lead to exceptionally large funding requests that prominent epidemiologists believe will actually harm public health by diverting limited resources. Kerry Grens’s article, “Newly Identified Virus Similar to Ebola, Marburg,” on January 9 in The Scientist will aid in the waste of public health funds while spreading needless fear of some of the world’s most valuable and endangered animals. Long repeated claims, such as those in her article, that virus hunters can predict and protect us from pandemics are without foundation, as are their speculations of bats as uniquely dangerous disease reservoirs.

Source: thescientist

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Not One, Not Two, But Three Fungi Present in Lichen

        Up until 2016, lichen was thought to be a partnership between one alga and one fungus, the classic symbiotic relationship. Then came the observation than in fact lichen harbors two types of fungi—an ascomycete and a newly identified basidiomycete yeast.

Source: thescientist

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Newly Identified Virus Similar to Ebola, Marburg

       Researchers have discovered of a new genus of filovirus carried by fruit bats in China. The genome of the so-called Menglà virus shares sequences with other filoviruses, including Ebola and Marburg, and all three use the same receptor on host cells to gain entry for infection, the scientists reported in Nature Microbiology on Monday.

Source: thescientist

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