mBio Editorial Urges an Interdisciplinary Effort to Understand and Utilize Microbiomes, Solve Earth's Modern Challenges
Washington, DC – 6:00 am, May 13, 2016 – A guest editorial in mBio on Friday May 13th discusses the importance of a cross-disciplinary approach to studying earth’s microbiomes and calls for solutions to the challenges that lie ahead in microbiome research. The article titled ‘Toward a Predictive Understanding of Earth’s Microbiomes to Address 21st Century Challenges,’ urges scientists to harness the power of microorganisms collaboratively to address pressing, global 21st century challenges which threaten water, energy and food, ecosystems and the environment, as well as human health. This article highlights the issues being addressed by the National Microbiome Initiative launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Scientists Identify New Route of TB Transmission
Washington, DC - May 10, 2016 - Scientists have discovered a new species of bacteria, Mycobacterium mungi, that causes tuberculosis (TB) and is transmitted through the skin and nose of banded mongoose in Northern Botswana. The findings, published May 10 in the journal mBio, have radically changed scientists understanding of how tuberculosis can be transmitted.
S. aureus Can Spread from Blood to Eye, Endangering Vision
Washington, DC - January 25, 2016 - Nearly ten percent of cases of Staphylococcus aureus infections of the blood spread to the eyeball, according to a team of Korean clinical investigators. That spread can severely impair vision, and even cause blindness. The research was published January 11 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Narrow Spectrum Antibiotic Kills Pathogens Without Killing Good Bacteria
Washington, DC - May 9, 2016 - The problem with broad spectrum antibiotics is that they kill good bacteria along with the bad. But a new antibiotic, Debio 1452, which is narrowly targeted at Staphilococcal pathogens, caused almost no harm to the gut microbiome of mouse models, while conventional broad spectrum antibiotics caused major damage. The research is published ahead of print May 9th in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Recombinant Bacterium Boosts Production of Compound that Can Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Washington, DC - January 22, 2016 - A soy isoflavone derivative that goes by the scientific moniker, (S)-equol, has proven potent for mitigating menopausal symptoms. However, it has been impossible to produce in quantities sufficient for widespread commercial nutraceutical production. But now, a team of Korean researchers reports having constructed a recombinant bacterium which they say can boost production. The research is published January 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Probiotics Mitigate Stress in Medical Students at Exam Time
Washington, DC - May 6, 2016 - A probiotic given to medical students during the run-up to nationwide medical school examinations reduced stress among the students. “The probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota can relieve many aspects of the stress response, especially gastrointestinal dysfunction,” said corresponding author Kouji Miyazaki, PhD, director of the Food Research Department of Yakult Central Institute, Tokyo, Japan. The research is published ahead of print May 6th, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Azithromycin During Delivery: Weighing Benefits and Costs
Washington, DC – January 13, 2016 - Some infants of lactating mothers given the antibiotic and antimalarial, azithromycin, during delivery may be protected from disease, or harmed by the drug. These findings are the results of the most comprehensive evaluation of the transfer of azithromycin into breast milk to date. “Young infants cannot metabolize medicines as well as older children or adults and so even relatively small amounts absorbed from breast milk may produce effects, both therapeutic and adverse, in some suckling infants,” explained corresponding author Timothy Davis, MB, D. Phil. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
HPV Infection Can Be Identified in Self-Collected Vaginal Swabs - Boon for Screening in Developing Countries
Washington, DC - April 29, 2016 - High risk, potentially cancer causing human papillomavirus infections are common among women in Papua New Guinea. But self sampling with vaginal swabs may provide materials that screen as accurately as the more labor-intensive approach using cervical samples obtained by clinicians. This finding is critical to developing same day screening and treatment, which is key to ensuring that women with precancerous lesions are treated in this largely unconnected (electronically) country, and in others like it. The research appeared online April 13th in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, which is published by the American Society for Microbiology.
Antibiotics Pave Way for C. difficile Infections by Killing Beneficial Bile Acid-Altering Bacteria
Washington DC – January 6, 2016 – New research from North Carolina State University and the University of Michigan finds that bile acids which are altered by bacteria normally living in the large intestine inhibit the growth of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. C. diff is a harmful bacterium that can cause painful and sometimes fatal infections. The work sheds light on the ways in which some commonly used antibiotics can promote C. diff infections by killing off the bile acid-altering microbes. The researchers’ findings appear January 6th in mSphere, the American Society for Microbiology’s new open access journal. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant K01GM109236).
Proteomics Method Measures Carbon Uptake of Marine Microbes
Washington, DC – April 26, 2016 – In a paper published April 26th in mSystems, a team of researchers led by microbiologists at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, describe a successful trial of a new method of identifying the carbon uptake of specific marine bacterioplankton taxa. The technique uses proteomics – the large-scale study of proteins – to observe directly the metabolic processes of communities of microorganisms.
Bacterium Carrying a Cloned Bt-Gene Could Help Millions Infected with Roundworms
Washington, DC - December 18, 2015 - Intestinal nematodes and roundworms infect more than one billion people worldwide. These parasites lead to malnutrition and developmental problems, especially in children. Unfortunately, resistance to the existing drug treatment is increasing. Now a team of researchers has successfully inserted the gene for a naturally-occurring, insecticidal protein called Bt into a harmless bacterium. This could then be incorporated into dairy products, or used as a probiotic to deliver the protein to the intestines of people afflicted with roundworms. The research is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Danish Investigators Reduce Sugar Content of Yogurt without Reducing Sweetness
Washington, DC – April 22, 2016 – A team from a Danish food ingredients company has manipulated the metabolic properties of yogurt-producing bacteria to sweeten the yogurt naturally, while reducing sugar in the final product. Similar manipulations have also all but eliminated lactose, so that those with lactose intolerance can enjoy the yogurt. They have accomplished all of this using microbiological methods that predate the era of genetic technologies. The research appears April 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Research Ushers in New Era of Boutique Chocolate
Washington, DC – November 20, 2015 - A team of Belgian researchers has shown that the yeasts used to ferment cocoa during chocolate production can modify the aroma of the resulting chocolate. “This makes it possible to create a whole range of boutique chocolates to match everyone’s favorite flavor, similar to wines, tea, and coffee,” says Jan Steensels, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven, and the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium. The research is published November 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.
Study: Cities have Individual Microbial Signatures
Washington, DC – April 19, 2016 – Cities have their own distinct microbial communities but these communities don’t vary much between offices located in the same city, according to a new study. The work, published this week in mSystems, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology, offers insight into what drives the composition of microbes in built environments.
Coconut Oil Shows Promise in the Prevention of Deadly Bloodstream Infection
Washington, DC – November 18, 2015 – Coconut oil may be effective at combating infection with Candida albicans, according to a study published November 18th in the American Society for Microbiology’s new open access journal mSphere. The study found that coconut oil consumption reduced gastrointestinal colonization by C. albicans in mice.
Mothers' Milk and the Infant Gut Microbiota: An Ancient Symbiosis
Washington, DC – April 15, 2016 – Nursing infants’ gastrointestinal tracts are enriched with specific protective microbes. Mother’s milk, itself, guides the development of neonates’ gut microbiota, nourishing a very specific bacterial population that, in turn, provides nourishment and protects the child. Now a team from the University of California, Davis, has identified the compound in the milk that supplies this nourishment, and has shown that it can be obtained from cow’s milk. This work could result in using cow’s milk to provide that compound as a prebiotic for infants. The research is published ahead of print on April 15th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Fungus Causes Emerging Snake Disease Found in Eastern U.S.
Washington, D.C.—November 17, 2015—Researchers working for the U.S. Geological Survey have identified the fungal culprit behind an often deadly skin infection in snakes in the eastern U.S. Published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the research shows that Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola is the definitive cause of snake fungal disease (SFD), which will help researchers pinpoint why it is emerging as a threat to snake populations and how its impacts can be mitigated.
Cause of Maryland Food Poisoning Outbreak Traced to Asia
Washington, DC – April 6, 2016 – Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak of food poisoning in Maryland in 2010. The pathogen strain sequenced from patients proved to be the same strain as one of those found in raw oysters from local restaurants, strong evidence that the oysters were the source of the illness. That particular strain of V. parahaemolyticus was not local, but was traced to Asia. The research is published March 18 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Irradiated Anthrax Can Be Sequenced – Fast!
Washington, DC – November 13, 2015 - These days, mail addressed to selected government offices gets irradiated, in order to kill any biological agents, notably anthrax spores. The downside of this is that viable spores have been needed to identify the anthrax strain, which can be critical to treating those infected. But now Henry S. Gibbons, PhD, has shown that full sequences can quickly be determined from irradiated spores. The research is published November 13 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Targeting the Gut Microbiome to Fight Heart Disease
Washington, DC – April 5, 2016 – A compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to a new study by researchers from China. The study is published in mBio, an open-access journal published by the American Society for Microbiology.
One Course of Antibiotics Can Affect Diversity of Microorganisms in the Gut
Washington, DC – November 10, 2015 – A single course of antibiotics has enough strength to disrupt the normal makeup of microorganisms in the gut for as long as a year, potentially leading to antibiotic resistance, European researchers reported this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Researchers Discover New Fish Virus that Threatens Global Tilapia Stocks
Washington, D.C.—April 5, 2016—An international team of researchers has identified a new virus that attacks wild and farmed tilipia, an important source of inexpensive protein for the world’s food supply. In work published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the team clearly shows that the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) was the culprit behind mass tilapia die-offs that occurred in Ecuador and Israel in recent years. The work also provides a foundation for developing a vaccine to protect fish from TiLV.
New Technique Could Prevent Biofilms on Catheters and Medical Implants
Washington, DC – October 30, 2015 – Biofilms—mats of bacteria similar to the plaque that grows on teeth—frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can threaten lives or lead to failure of the implants. Antibiotics are impotent against biofilms. Now Jakub Kwiecinski, PhD, Tao Jin, MD, PhD, and collaborators show that coating implants with “tissue plasminogen activator” can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms. The research is published 30 October in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Investigators Identify New Pneumonia Epidemic in Beijing
Washington, DC – March 31, 2016 –Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections began rising in Beijing last spring, and by December, this pathogen was found in more than half of hospitalized children suffering from pneumonia in that city, according to investigators from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing, China. Now these investigators predict that this epidemic will likely continue well into 2016, and possibly longer. Their data may help clinicians slow the epidemic. The research is published February 24th in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.
Multi-tasking Flu Vaccine Could Provide Better Protection against Outbreaks
Washington, D.C.—October 27, 2015—Australian researchers have found a way to boost the effectiveness and cross-protective capabilities of an influenza A vaccine by adding a simple component. Published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, the research in mice could lead to better seasonal flu vaccines for humans, and also vaccines that could provide community protection in the early stages of an outbreak of a novel flu virus strain.
Nonpathogenic Viruses Transferred During Fecal Transplants
Washington, DC – March 29, 2016 – Communities of viruses can be transferred during fecal transplants, according to a study published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Fortunately for patients who use this procedure, the viruses found to be transmitted in this study appear to be harmless to humans.
Bacteriophage Treatment Decontaminates Infant Formula
Washington, DC – October 23, 2015 - A phage showed strong anti-microbial activity against a type of food-borne bacterium that often kills infants after infecting them via infant formula. Phages are viruses that infect only bacteria. The research is published October 23 online in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Botulism in Waterbirds: Mortality Rates and New Insights into How it Spreads
Washington, DC – March 25, 2016 – Outbreaks of botulism killed large percentages of waterbirds inhabiting a wetland in Spain. During one season, more than 80 percent of gadwalls and black-winged stilts died. The botulinum toxin’s spread may have been abetted by an invasive species of water snail which frequently carries the toxin-producing bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, and which is well adapted to wetlands polluted by sewage. Global warming will likely increase outbreaks, said corresponding author Rafael Mateo, PhD. The research was published March 25th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Likely Drug Interactions In Placenta Could Harm Fetus
Washington, DC - October 13, 2015 - To date, studies in pregnant women examining transport of drugs across the placenta are rare and inadequate, said Tomo Nabekura, PhD. Such knowledge could be vital to preserving fetal health. In a new laboratory study, Nabekura and colleagues have illuminated a piece of this puzzle, and the results hint that mothers taking new anti-hepatitis C and/or anti-HIV drugs along with anti-hypertensives or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) could be raising the risk of birth defects or stunting fetal growth, respectively. The research was published ahead of print in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Contact Lenses Alter Eye Bacteria, Making it More Skin-like
Washington, DC – March 22, 2016 – Contact lenses may alter the natural microbial community of the eyes, according to a study published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Listeria Can Grow on Unrefrigerated Caramel Apples
Washington, DC – October 13, 2015 – Caramel apples punctured with dipping sticks and left unrefrigerated over the course of a couple of weeks may harbor a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes, according to a study published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Bacterial Airborne Signal Encourages Fungal Growth Critical in Lung Infections
Washington, D.C.—March 15, 2016—Researchers in France have discovered that volatile compounds released by a bacterial pathogen stimulate the growth of a fungal pathogen found in lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF). The findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, show for the first time that one pathogen can emit a signal through the air that acts as a direct fuel for another pathogen to grow.
Vaginal Microbes Influence Whether Mucus Can Trap HIV Virus
Washington, DC —October 6, 2015— HIV particles are effectively trapped by the cervicovaginal mucus from women who harbor a particular vaginal bacteria species, Lactobacillus crispatus. The findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, could lead to new ways to reduce or block vaginal transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
New Research Suggests First-Line Anti-Staph Drug Oxacillin Safer than Nafcillin
Washington, DC – March 14, 2016 – Nafcillin and oxacillin, two antibiotics commonly prescribed in hospitals, have been used without preference for one over the other. Costs and effectiveness are similar for both. But a new study suggests that oxacillin is significantly safer than nafcillin. The research is published ahead of print March 14th in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Pathogen-Carrying Neotropical Ticks Ride Migratory Birds into US
Washington, DC - October 2, 2015 - Tick species not normally present in the United States are arriving here on migratory birds. Some of these ticks carry disease-causing Ricksettia species, and some of those species are exotic to the US. The research is published on October 2nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Investigators Trace Emergence and Spread of Virulent Salmonella Strain
Washington, DC - March 4, 2016 - Since it first emerged more than half a century ago, a particular strain of multidrug-resistant Salmonella has spread all over the world. Now researchers have figured out why this strain, Salmonella Typhimuriam DT104, has been so successful. This new knowledge could prove valuable in combating other successful pathogens, according to the authors. The study is published ahead of print March 4th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
New Virus Identified in Blood Supply
Washington, DC – September 22, 2015 - Scientists have discovered a new virus that can be transmitted through the blood supply. Currently, it is unclear whether the virus is harmful or not, but it is related to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human pegivirus (HPgV), the latter of which was formerly known as hepatitis G virus. The new virus, which researchers have named human hepegivirus-1 (HHpgV-1), is described in the September 22 issue of mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Study Calls into Question Current MERS Vaccine Strategy
Washington, DC - March 1, 2016 - A new study suggests that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) develops mutations that make the virus less virulent during an outbreak rather than more virulent. The study, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, has implications for vaccine development.
Researchers Find Novel Signature in the Brains of Children with Cerebral Malaria: Disease exacerbated by HIV
Washington, DC - September 22, 2015 - Cells associated with inflammation and blood clotting accumulate in the brain blood vessels of children affected by a potentially fatal form of malaria called cerebral malaria (CM), potentially contributing to the disease process, an international team of researchers has found, and HIV can exacerbate this development. The work was published this week in mBio®, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Researchers Develop Realistic System to Study Impact of Residential Mold on Health
Washington, DC – February 26, 2016 – Residential mold has increased in recent years, due to water damage from a rising frequency of flooding. But there is scant information on the impact of residential mold on human health. But now a team of Danish investigators has developed a modeling system that actually mimics indoor fungal aerosols. The research is published ahead of print February 26th in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Skin Microbiome Influences Common Sexually Transmitted Disease
Washington, DC – September 15, 2015 - For years, researchers have known that the human skin is home to a diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome. Now a new study has shown that individuals with a particular skin microbiome can effectively clear bacteria that cause chancroid, a sexually transmitted disease common in the developing world that has been linked to enhanced HIV transmission. The study, published in the September 15th issue of mBio, is the first prospective study to show that the skin microbiome can influence the outcomes of a bacterial infection.
Novel Herpes Virus Isolated from Bat Cells
Washington, DC – February 17, 2016 – Researchers from Maryland and New York have identified a novel herpes virus in cells taken from a bat. The work, published this week in mSphere, the American Society for Microbiology’s new open access journal, could lead to better understanding of the biology of these viruses and why bats serve as hosts for a number of viruses that can potentially transfer to humans.
American Society for Microbiology Announces Calls for Papers for New Open-Access Journals, mSphere and mSystems
Washington, DC—September 14, 2015— Founding Editors in Chief Michael Imperiale and Jack Gilbert have issued calls for papers for the American Society for Microbiology’s new open-access journals, mSphere™and mSystems™, respectively. Both journals will provide streamlined decisions and newly accepted manuscripts will be copyedited, composed, and published weekly. The online journals will launch in early 2016.
Hypothermia Mediated by "Magnetotactic Bacteria" Could Kill S. aureus
Washington, DC - February 12, 2016 - As Staphylococcus aureus becomes increasingly resistant to antibiotics, new methods of killing these pathogens are urgently needed. Now a team of investigators has demonstrated in laboratory rodents that a form of hyperthermia using magnetic nanocrystals, and targeted to the pathogens, can kill S. aureus. The research is published ahead of print February 12 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Periodontitis and Heart Disease: Researchers Connect the Molecular Dots
Washington, DC – September 11, 2015 - Periodontitis is a risk factor for heart disease. Now a team of researchers has shown that a periodontal pathogen causes changes in gene expression that boost inflammation and atherosclerosis in aortic smooth muscle cells. The research is published ahead of print in Infection and Immunity, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Early Diet of Infants, Not Maternal Obesity, Influences Development of Gut Microbiome
Washington, DC - February 10, 2016 - After the age of nine months, the development of the infant gut microbiota is driven by the transition to family foods, not maternal obesity, according to results from a new study. The study was published online this week in mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Decontamination Exterminates Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria from Pig Farm
Washington, DC – September 4, 2015 - Decontamination protocols eradicated both methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and antibiotic resistant, pathogenic intestinal bacteria, the Enterobacteriaceae, from a pig farm. The research appears online September 4th in ASM’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Real-time Ebola Fusion System Yields Clues to Stopping Infection
Washington, D.C.—February 9, 2016—Researchers have developed the first real-time system to watch directly through the microscope as Ebola-like virus particles fuse with human cells to infect them. Their findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, reveal key host cell and viral proteins that direct fusion and Ebola infection. Such knowledge is crucial for designing future drugs or vaccines to prevent this deadly disease.
Why do Certain Hormonal Contraceptives Increase the Risk of HIV?
Washington, DC – September 1, 2015 - In recent years, evidence has been building that injectable contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (Depo-Provera or DMPA) is associated with an increased risk of HIV infection. Now a study published in the September 1st issue of mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, provides a biological explanation for the phenomenon. The findings will help women make more informed choices about birth control.
New Research Identifies Drug Target for Dengue Virus
Washington, DC – February 8, 2016 – No vaccine or drug has yet become available against the Dengue virus. A flavivirus like the newly prominent Zika virus, Dengue has become a leading cause of serious illness and death in some Asian and Latin American countries. Now a team of Dutch investigators has data suggesting that a protein in dengue virus that goes by the scientific name, NS4B, would make a promising target for antiviral drug development. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
Oysters Harbor, Transmit Human Norovirus: Avoid Raw Ones
Washington, DC - August 28, 2015 - Oysters not only transmit human norovirus; they also serve as a major reservoir for these pathogens, according to research published August 28 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. “More than 80 percent of human norovirus genotypes were detected in oyster samples or oyster-related outbreaks,” said corresponding author Yongjie Wang, PhD.
Natural Clay Deposit May Hold Keys to Defeating Hospital Infections
Washington, D.C.—January 26, 2016— Researchers have uncovered potent antimicrobial activity in a natural clay deposit found on the central coast of British Columbia, Canada. The research, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, shows that the clay can kill members of the ESKAPE group of bacterial pathogens, the culprits behind some of the deadliest and most antibiotic-resistant hospital-acquired infections.