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April - 2019

   

Infection biology: Gut microbe helps thwart Salmonella

      Salmonella enterica is the name of a group of rod-shaped bacteria that can cause gastroenteritis in humans and other animals. Salmonella infections can have serious consequences for certain high-risk groups, such as babies, young children, the elderly and individuals whose immune systems are functionally compromised. Most people with a normal complement of gut microflora (microbiota) generally have little difficulty coping with such infections. Only in 10-20% of cases in which the pathogens are ingested usually via contaminated food products does an infection actually result. But the members of the gut microbiota that are responsible for resistance to Salmonella are largely unknown. Now a group of researchers led by Professor Bärbel Stecher of LMU's Max von Pettenkofer Institute of Public Health [who is also affiliated with the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)] has identified one bacterial species which protects mice against Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium one of the two most prevalent pathogenic subspecies found in Germany. The new findings appear in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

Source: Phys

 

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Certain microbes may reduce allergy-like reactions in many people

      A small percentage of humans can suffer allergy-like reactions to certain varieties of ripened cheese due to histamine, a byproduct of the prolonged fermentation process. A researcher is studying bacterial strains that could reduce histamine, allowing susceptible diners to enjoy the cheese without unpleasant side effects.

Source: Phys

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Microbes hitch a ride on high-flying dust

      Dust doesn't just accumulate under your bed. It can also travel for thousands of kilometers, across continents and oceans. A new study analyzed the microbial content of dust particles being transported from the deserts of central Asia to South Korea and Japan. The new research shows dust's potential for carrying potential pathogens to far-flung places, potentially impacting natural ecosystems and human health.

Source: Phys

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Microbes in the human body swap genes, even across tissue boundaries: study

      Bacteria in the human body are sharing genes with one another at a higher rate than is typically seen in nature, and some of those genes appear to be traveling—independent of their microbial hosts—from one part of the body to another, researchers report in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Phys

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March - 2019

   

Urban biodiversity to lower chronic disease

      Replanting urban environments with native flora could be a cost effective way to improve public health because it will help 'rewild' the environmental and human microbiota, University of Adelaide researchers say.

Source: Phys

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Uncovering uncultivated microbes in the human gut

      A tree's growth is dependent on nutrients from the soil and water, as well as the microbes in, on, and around the roots. Similarly, a human's health is shaped both by environmental factors and the body's interactions with the microbiome, particularly in the gut. Genome sequences are critical for characterizing individual microbes and understanding their functional roles. However, previous studies have estimated that only 50 percent of species in the gut microbiome have a sequenced genome, in part because many species have not yet been cultivated for study.

Source: Phys

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The largest ever catalog of bacteria in the human body contain over 150 thousands genomes

      The largest ever catalog of bacterial and archaeal microbes commonly populating the human body across worldwide populations has been assembled. This is the main result of a new study coordinated by Nicola Segata and Edoardo Pasolli of the Laboratory of Computational Metagenomics at the University of Trento, Italy. The work appeared online in the scientific journal "Cell".

Source: Phys

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Sinister blastocystis: A clandestine killer of good bacteria revealed

      Since most of the microbes in our gut are bacteria, they tend to hog much of the microbiome research limelight. But lurking amongst the bacteria are other microbes such as single-cell eukaryotes (SCE) and viruses, which have been largely ignored until now. Doctors and scientists have previously regarded Blastocystis, among the most common gut SCEs, as a harmless commensal organism, peacefully co-existing with its bacterial neighbors. However, that could change with the publication of a new study from NUS Medicine in Microbiome demonstrating that a subtype of Blastocystis isolated from Singapore can actually harm its neighbors and its home in an insidious way.

Source: Phys

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February - 2019

   

'Mutation hotspot' allows common fungus to adapt to different host environments

      The fungus Candida albicans is found in the gastrointestinal tract of about half of healthy adults with little if any effect, yet it also causes an oft-fatal blood infection among patients with compromised immune systems, including those with HIV/AIDS. New research from Brown University helps show how this fungus gets the flexibility to live in these vastly different environments.

Source: Phys

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Redox traits characterize the organization of global microbial communities

      To a great extent, living organisms control the flows of matter and energy through the planet, and the study of their interactions is the goal of ecology. While the roles or functions of multicellular organisms, such as trees or animals, are known or can be predicted from their taxonomy, this is not always possible in the case of microbes. Which are the attributes that best characterize the microbial communities that inhabit ecosystems and the ecological roles they perform?

Source: Phys

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New technique pinpoints milestones in the evolution of bacteria

      Bacteria have evolved all manner of adaptations to live in every habitat on Earth. But unlike plants and animals, which can be preserved as fossils, bacteria have left behind little physical evidence of their evolution, making it difficult for scientists to determine exactly when different groups of bacteria evolved.

Source: Phys

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European waters drive ocean overturning, key for regulating climate

      An international study reveals the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which helps regulate Earth's climate, is highly variable and primarily driven by the conversion of warm, salty, shallow waters into colder, fresher, deep waters moving south through the Irminger and Iceland basins. This upends prevailing ideas and may help scientists better predict Arctic ice melt and future changes in the ocean's ability to mitigate climate change by storing excess atmospheric carbon.

Source: Phys

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January - 2019

   

European waters drive ocean overturning, key for regulating climate

      An international study reveals the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, which helps regulate Earth's climate, is highly variable and primarily driven by the conversion of warm, salty, shallow waters into colder, fresher, deep waters moving south through the Irminger and Iceland basins. This upends prevailing ideas and may help scientists better predict Arctic ice melt and future changes in the ocean's ability to mitigate climate change by storing excess atmospheric carbon.

Source: sciencedaily

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Opinion: Disease Prediction by Bat Virus Surveys Is a Waste

      As one who has studied bats worldwide for 60 years, I’m deeply concerned regarding the near avalanche of recent articles that needlessly frighten the public into intolerance of bats and lead to exceptionally large funding requests that prominent epidemiologists believe will actually harm public health by diverting limited resources. Kerry Grens’s article, “Newly Identified Virus Similar to Ebola, Marburg,” on January 9 in The Scientist will aid in the waste of public health funds while spreading needless fear of some of the world’s most valuable and endangered animals. Long repeated claims, such as those in her article, that virus hunters can predict and protect us from pandemics are without foundation, as are their speculations of bats as uniquely dangerous disease reservoirs.

Source: thescientist

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Not One, Not Two, But Three Fungi Present in Lichen

      Up until 2016, lichen was thought to be a partnership between one alga and one fungus, the classic symbiotic relationship. Then came the observation than in fact lichen harbors two types of fungi—an ascomycete and a newly identified basidiomycete yeast.

Source: thescientist

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Newly Identified Virus Similar to Ebola, Marburg

      Researchers have discovered of a new genus of filovirus carried by fruit bats in China. The genome of the so-called Menglà virus shares sequences with other filoviruses, including Ebola and Marburg, and all three use the same receptor on host cells to gain entry for infection, the scientists reported in Nature Microbiology on Monday

Source: thescientist

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