Simple & elegant solution to a big problem in DNA based microbial diversity studies

A new preprint has come out in PeerJ that presents a simple yet elegant solution to one of the bigger problems in DNA based microbial diversity studies.  The authors (Wenke Smets, Jonathan W Leff, Mark A Bradford, Rebecca L McCulley, Sarah Lebeer, Noah Fierer) show how one can use the addition of an internal standard …

Sarah Zhang updates “What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment”

. Sarah Zhang at Wired has updated her post from three years ago about bacteria in her apratment with reference to a new study just published from the Wildlife of Your Homes study of bacteria and fungi in homes.  Definitely worth a look. Source: What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment | …

Federal Trade Commission Penalizes False Sanitation Claims

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is finally cracking down on products that tap into the neurotic tendencies of extreme germophobes. In this recent Consumerist article, Chris Morran discusses the penalties Zadro Health Solutions and Angel Sales had to pay for false advertising of their disinfection products. Without a single lab experiment, we can already deduce …

Norovirus Aerosolization Research Using Vomit Machine

A big question many scientists have been seeking to answer is if norovirus, a common cause of gastroenteritis, is aerosolized. This could possibly occur when an infected host vomits. A new paper in PLoS one tests just that, using a vomiting machine with a clay face on it and a bacteriophage surrogate for norovirus to simulate the …

Don’t diss microbial eukaryotes in human gut by calling them all parasites 

There is an interesting paper from Julius LukeÅ¡ et al. in PLOS Pathogens that is worth looking at for anyone who works on microbial diversity: PLOS Pathogens: Are Human Intestinal Eukaryotes Beneficial or Commensals? They basically argue (reasonably I think) that the roles of microbial eukaryotes in the human gut have been excessively interpreted as parasitic and that …

Microbial biofilms in water meters

Here is your song to go with this post: Something in the water by Carrie Underwood. When we drink tap water, we usually don’t really think about the bacteria that might be in there. The quality of drinking water in the US is regulated by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and monitored by regularly testing the water …

Where the sausage gets made

Here is a recent article about a built environment that hasn’t been characterized before for bacterial diversity: a meat processing plant where sausages are produced. The authors sequenced the V1-V3 area of the 16S rRNA gene to characterize cold tolerant or psychrotrophic bacteria in a refrigerated meat processing plant. Psychrotolerant bacteria are bacteria that are capable of surviving in …