Researchers Identify New Strategy for Decreasing Neonatal Mortality

Washington, DC - June 28, 2016 - Researchers have discovered how the bacteria Group B streptococcus (GBS) avoids detection by the immune system during pregnancy. The findings, reported in the journal mBio, could lead to the development of new drugs and strategies for treating GBS infection, which is a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Cross-respiration Between Oral Bacteria Leads to Worse Infections

Washington, D.C.—June 28, 2016—Researchers determined that two bacterial species commonly found in the human mouth and in abscesses, cooperate to make the pathogenic bacterium, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, more infectious. Key to the cooperation is that the harmless partner provides the pathogen with an oxygen-rich environment that helps it flourish. The findings, published this week in mBio, an online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, could lead to better ways to fight the majority of bacterial infections that play out within complex communities of bacteria.

Michigan Researchers Investigate What Causes Cattle to Shed STEC: Food Safety Could Benefit

Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) are foodborne pathogens spread largely by cattle, that can cause hemorrhagic colitis and kidney failure. In an effort to find ways of reducing this problem, Michigan State University investigators show that stress, and the negative energy balance associated with lactation appear to encourage the shedding of STEC, especially in summer. The research is published ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Beneficial Bacteria May Protect Breasts From Cancer

Washington, DC - June 24, 2016 - Bacteria that have the potential to abet breast cancer are present in the breasts of cancer patients, while beneficial bacteria are more abundant in healthy breasts, where they may actually be protecting women from cancer, according to Gregor Reid, PhD, and his collaborators. These findings may lead ultimately to the use of probiotics to protect women against breast cancer. The research is published in the ahead of print June 24 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Stealth Nanocapsules Kill Chagas Parasites in Mouse Models

Washington, DC - June 20, 2016 - Lychnopholide, a substance isolated from a Brazilian plant, and formulated as part of “nanocapsules” cured more than half of a group of mice that had been infected experimentally with Chagas disease parasites. “Chagas disease affects millions of people, mainly in poor rural areas of 21 Latin American countries,” said Marta de Lana, PhD. The research is published in online ahead of print June 20 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Microbes in Pressed Grapes Before Fermentation May Predict Flavor Metabolites in the Finished Wine

Washington, DC - June 14, 2016 - The microbial mix found in grape juice during the winemaking process may help shape the terroir of a finished wine, report food scientists at the University of California, Davis. In a study published in the May/June issue of mBio, an online open-access journal from the American Society of Microbiology, the researchers found that the microorganisms found in must – freshly-pressed grape juice, before fermentation – can be used as biomarkers to predict which metabolites will be found in the finished wine. Metabolites are chemical compounds that help shape the flavor and texture of a wine.

New Compound Shows Promise Against Malaria

Washington, DC - June 6, 2016 - Malaria parasites cause hundreds of millions of infections, and kills hundreds of thousands of people annually, mostly in Africa. And in recent years the most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has become increasingly resistant to the main anti-malarial drugs. Now, an international team of researchers shows that some members of a class of compounds called oxaboroles, which contain the element, boron, have potent activity against malaria parasites. The research is published ahead of print June 6 in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Crowds of Crows Spread C. jejuni: Are Humans Vulnerable?

Washington, DC - June 3, 2016 - Crows are smart, highly social animals that congregate in flocks of tens of thousands. Such large, highly concentrated populations can easily spread disease—not only amongst their own species, but quite possibly to humans, either via livestock, or directly. On the campus of the University of California, Davis, during winter, approximately half of the 6,000 American crows that congregated at the study site carried Campylobacter jejuni, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis in humans in industrialized countries, which could contribute to the spread of disease.  The research is published ahead of print June 3 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Study Shows How Bacteria Evolve in the Lungs of Cystic Fibrosis Patients

Washington, DC – May 24, 2016 – The bacterium Burkholderia multivorans evolves and adapts in bursts to survive in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, according to a study published this week in mSystems, an open access journal from the American Society for Microbiology. The work, believed to be the first retrospective look at the evolution of this microorganism, indicates that B. multivorans directly or indirectly targets adherence, metabolism and changes to the cell ‘envelope’ to stick around and evade antibiotics.

Temperature Influences Gene Expression, Life Cycle in Vibrio cholerae

Washington, DC – May 20, 2016 – Vibrio cholerae infects roughly four million people annually, worldwide, causing severe diarrheal disease, and killing an estimated 140,000 people. Its success as a pathogen belies the challenges this bacterium faces. The waters this bacterium inhabits when it’s not infecting H. sapiens can be 40 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than our normal body temperature. Now a team of investigators from the University of California, Santa Cruz provides new insights into how different temperatures in the bacterium’s environment control expression of genes required for life at those temperatures. The research is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.