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Press Releases

Welcome to ASM's Newsroom, a resource for journalists seeking information relating to the microbiological sciences. Members of the media and the general public can access current and archived press releases highlighting the latest research published in ASM's journals or presented at our meetings.

Boston, MA – 12:30 pm, Friday, June 17, 2016 – Research presented at the ASM Microbe meeting suggests that microbial water quality issues of Flint drinking water are improving, based on recent testing in March 2016, but that continued vigilance is in order.  The research, performed by the Flint Water Study team at Virginia Tech, found that levels of DNA markers for Legionella have decreased throughout Flint since October 2015 before the water change, but did confirm that pathogenic forms of the bacteria, including L. pneumophila, were culturable at some sampling points.

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.

Washington, DC – June 8, 2016 – Following the success of the American Society for Microbiology’s vastly popular Agar Art contest last year, the winners of ASM’s second Agar Art contest have been announced. The contest drew widespread public interest last fall for its stunning and innovative submissions of artwork created using only microbes on agar plates.  This year’s contest, enticing more entrants with the theme “plate a little culture,” has attracted even more inventive works of both art and science.

Monday, 06 June 2016 11:33

New Compound Shows Promise Against Malaria

Written by

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.

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.

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.

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.

Washington, DC - May 20, 2015 - Oral administration of certain probiotics reduced uptake of the heavy metal, cadmium, in the intestines of mice, and in a laboratory experiment using human intestinal cells. The research, which might ultimately be applied to improving public health in areas of heavy metal contamination, is published ahead of print May 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Washington, DC - May 18, 2016 - Personal hygiene products such as soaps and toothpastes that contain the antibiotic triclosan do not have a major influence on microbial communities or endocrine function, according to a small, randomized trial. The study findings were published online May 18th in mSphere, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

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.

Washington, D.C. – 6:00 am, May 13, 2016 - In support of the National Microbiome Initiative launched by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to accelerate discovery in the field of microbiome research, The Kavli Foundation has committed $1 million to a Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge supporting development of next generation scientific tools for investigating life on a microbial scale. The Kavli Ideas Challenge will be led by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and carried out in partnership with the American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Physical Society (APS).

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.

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.

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.

Prior to the Zika Conference on June 1st, ASM Communications will host a panel of Zika virus experts who will speak about the latest developments on Zika virus research and a wide range of fields that touch on flaviviruses.  Join us for a premier glance of the Zika conference and for a chance to ask questions to the panel members.

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.

Washington, DC – April 26, 2016 – Building upon the success of The American Society for Microbiology's vastly popular agar art contest last year, round two of the competition is currently underway with expectations for even more inventive artwork. The contest drew widespread public interest last fall for its stunning and innovative submissions of artwork created using only microbes on agar plates. This year's contest, enticing more entrants with the theme "plate a little culture," will close on May 6th, and winners will be announced at a special art gallery at ASM's yearly meeting this June in Boston.

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.

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.

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.

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