Study by 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant Winner Advances the Direct Study of Microbial Communities in Diverse Environments, Including Those in Mammalian Systems

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – For researchers to effectively identify novel therapeutic approaches to chronic bacterial infections, an understanding of how microbes survive in vivo is needed. A study published in ASM’s open-access journal, mBio, looks at The tissue-clearing technique, MiPACT, designed to retain and visualize bacteria, can be coupled with hybridization chain reaction (HCR) to detect rRNA in the sputum samples from cystic fibrosis. The researchers, led by Dianne Newman, a MacArthur ”Genius” Grant Winner, have demonstrated MiPACT’s ability to survey thousands of bacteria (or bacterial aggregates) over millimeter scales and quantify aggregation of individual species in polymicrobial communities.

Researchers Sequence Genome from 1979 Russian Anthrax Outbreak

Washington, DC – September 27, 2016 – Analyzing small pieces of tissue from nearly 40-year-old human autopsies, Arizona researchers have sequenced the genome of the strain of Bacillus anthracis that caused a deadly anthrax outbreak in Russia in 1979. The work is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Potentially Life-Threatening Fungus Found In Water Distribution Systems of Five French Hospitals

Washington, DC – September 23, 2016 - A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

β-lactamase Antimicrobial Resistance Gene Found In Marine Pathogen

Washington, DC – September 19, 2016 – A team of Chinese investigators has discovered a gene for resistance to β-lactamase antibiotics, in the pathogenic marine bacterium, Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The β-lactamase gene, blaVEB-2, has never before been found in V. parahaemolyticus, and in fact, has been found almost exclusively in non-marine pathogens. The research is published Monday, September 19, 2016 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Protein Synthesis, ATP Unnecessary for Bacterial Spore Germination

Washington, DC - September 19, 2016 - Spores of Bacillus bacteria can survive for years in a dormant state, and then germinate in minutes. But it has long been unclear whether germination required protein synthesis, or cellular energy packets, which are known as ATP. Now, a team from UConn Health, Farmington, CT, has shown that neither is necessary. The research is published online September 19 in the Journal of Bacteriology, published by the American Society for Microbiology.

Microbes Corrode Steel in Ships, Marine Infrastructure

Washington, DC - September 16, 2016 - Rust is the bane of steel, whether on cars, on ships and boats, or as part of marine infrastructure. Now, contrary to previous thinking, it turns out that the ocean-dwelling, steel-corroding species, Mariprofundus sp. DIS-1, can thrive under aerobic conditions, rather than being limited to “micro-aerobic” or anaerobic conditions. That means steel in marine environments is more vulnerable to bacterial depredations than previously thought. The research is published on Friday, September 16th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Molecules Released by Klebsiella pneumoniae Bacterium Pave the Way for Invasive Infection

Washington, DC – September 13, 2016 – It’s been known that the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae secretes small molecules called siderophores that enable it to acquire iron from a host and fuel its spread. Now, Michigan researchers have found that these molecules play additional roles in helping the organism invade. Their report is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Media Advisory: Longer Contact Times Increase Cross-Contamination of Enterobacter aerogenes from Surfaces to Food; Is the Five Second Rule Real?

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Bacterial cross-contamination from surfaces to food can contribute to foodborne disease. Researchers from Rutgers University evaluated the cross-contamination rate of Enterobacter aerogenes using scenarios including four different surface types, (stainless steel, tile, wood, and carpet) four food types, (watermelon, bread, bread with butter, and gummy candy) four contact times, (<1, 5, 30 and 300 seconds), and two bacterial preparation methods. The researchers found that more bacterial transfer occurred during the longer contact times, but the type of food and surface type also significantly impacted cross-contamination from surface to food, with some transfers taking place instantaneously.

Chinese Investigators Characterize the World of Resistance Gene Exchange Among Bacteria

Washington, DC – September 9, 2016 – Certain antibiotic resistance genes are easily transferred from one bacterial species to another, and can move between farm animals and the human gut. A team led by Chinese researchers has characterized this “mobile resistome,” which they say is largely to blame for the spread of antibiotic resistance. They found that many antibiotic resistance genes that are shared between the human and animal gut microbiome are also present in multiple human pathogens. These findings are published September 9 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Fungi Contribute to Delayed Healing of Chronic Wounds

Washington, DC – September 6, 2016 – Researchers in Pennsylvania and Iowa have discovered that fungal communities found in chronic wounds can form mixed bacterial-fungal biofilms and can be associated with poor outcomes and longer healing times. Their report, the first deep characterization of the fungi found in diabetic foot ulcers, is published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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