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Friday, 29 June 2018 01:49

TWiM 179 Letters

Written by 
Published in Letters

Kevin writes:

Dear TWiM team:


I am enjoying very much TWiV (almost finished Virology 101), TWiP, and now looking at TWiM.


Everytime I make bread I read the warning at the top of the flour bag that says, "flour is RAW, always cook before sampling...." This prompts my correspondence....


I searched the TWiM site and didn't see anything about the surprising (to me) flour associated E coli outbreak last fall (ref below.) I followed up on a few of the references in this article, some rather arcane food science reviews about residual water in 'dry' products etc etc. This reminded me of older E coli outbreaks (sprouts I think), where I followed some obscure horticultural references that researched the 'transmission' or carriage of E. coli within seed capsules, mimicking vertical transmission. It would be good to learn more about these atypical or unexpected modes of transmission/spread of E coli and bacteria in general, those mechanisms that go beyond the parasitologist's dictum (Norman Stoll) that 'the path from the anus to the mouth is all too short."



Shiga Toxin–Producing E. coli Infections Associated with Flour

November 23, 2017

N Engl J Med 2017; 377:2036-2043

Samuel J. Crowe, Ph.D., M.P.H, et al


Thank you




Neeraj writes:

Dear TwiModulators,

      I am writing to thank you for the discussing the intriguing study and the amazing discussion about the Colanic acid, that was presented in TWiM176. I hadn’t heard about this Polysaccharide before, so this was a great way to get introduced to a totally remarkable molecular facet of E.coli biology. As was mentioned during the podcast, I am also totally intrigued by the idea about the age dependent level of expression for Colanic acid in mammals. Btw, do we know if there is a prominent effect on longevity of lab animals, which have been treated with antibiotics, compared to the ones that haven’t? I am personally not aware of that but was wondering if it would be interesting, to see the effect on longevity of feeding Colanic acid to antibiotic treated animals. Anyways, these are just a few thoughts that come to mind! Mechanistically and functionally, the complexity of host microbiome interaction, just totally boggles the mind. Clearly, we are in the infancy of this field, but I am sure, as more and more rational scientific evidence mounts, we will see a whole different side of the human physiology. Please continue the great podcast as I am sure, you have a huge audience out there that regularly listens but only sporadically emails!





P.S: Thanks also for the discussion about the antiviral role of Neomycin, a widely used antibiotic



Neeraj Kapoor, Ph.D.

Scientist II at SutroVax, Inc.


Leandro writes:

Dear Vince, Elio, Michael and Michelle


My name is Leandro Lobo, I am a professor at the medical microbiology department at the federal university of Rio de Janeiro , Brazil (universidade federal do Rio de Janeiro).


I am a big fan of podcasts and the twim, twiv, twip series have been in my devices since forever! I love your shows, and you actually inspired me to start my own microbiology podcast with a group of professors from my department. Our podcast is called “microbiando” (something like microbying in english) and Much like yours, we talk about new papers and findings in microbiology and immunology. We also have a section called “microliter of news” where our students contribute with short pieces, and another one called “phylogeny of science” where we talk about famous microbiologists from the past. Our first episode was on an article describing the effect of the fruit fly microbiome on longevity, so, when I listened to twim 176, I knew I had to write you! If we are picking up similar papers, it means we are doing something right!


To my knowledge, this is the first podcast dedicated to microbiology and immunology in Portuguese. We have released 4 episodes and planning to release a new one every 15 days. Thanks for being such an inspiration!


Your fellow podcaster,


Vincent Racaniello

Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D. is Professor of Microbiology at Columbia University Medical Center. As principal investigator of his laboratory, he oversees the research that is carried out by Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. He also teaches virology to graduate students, as well as medical, dental, and nursing students.

Vincent entered the world of social media in 2004 with virology blog, followed by This Week in Virology. Videocasts of lectures from his undergraduate virology course are on iTunes University and virology blog. You can find him on WikipediaTwitter, Facebook, and Instagram. His goal is to be Earth’s virology professor. In recognition of his contribution to microbiology education, he was awarded the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education by the Society for General Microbiology. His Wildy Lecture provides an overview of how he uses social media for science communication.