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Inefficient influenza H7N9 virus aerosol transmission among ferrets

There have been 131 confirmed human infections with avian influenza H7N9 virus in China, but so far there is little evidence for human to human transmission. Three out of four patients report exposure to animals, ‘mostly chickens‘, suggesting that most of the infections are zoonoses. Whether or ... Read More

TWiP 54 Letters

Tommy writes:


Hi Vincent and Dickson,


I was listening to the new episode of TWiP (episode 52) and one of your listeners wrote in asking about tree parasites. While plant parasite is not my main field of research, I have written about one such pa... Read More

TWiP 54: Unde venis?



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and Dickson Despommier


Vincent and Dickson consid... Read More

The Microbiome of the Sky: Role for Microbes in Cloud Formation?

Whether the microorganisms routinely inhabit the upper troposphere -- perhaps living on carbon compounds also found there -- or whether they were simply lofted there from the Earth's surface isn't yet known. Airborne microbes are of interest to atmospheric scientists, because they could play a r... Read More

Resistance to last-line antibiotic also makes bacteria resistant to immune attacks

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is bad enough, but what if drug resistance also gives bacteria the ability to fend off attacks by the immune system? In a study in mBio this week scientists identify a lose-lose situation with colistin and Acinetobacter baumannii: bacteria resistant to colisti... Read More

Update on H7N9: Should We Be Concerned?

The emergence of human infections with avian influenza viruses (H7N9 and H5N1) have raised concerns about the virus gaining the ability to spread person-to-person, potentially causing a deadly pandemic. So far the number of human cases has been limited but the mortality rates have been high. ... Read More

ASM GM 2013 - The Microbiome of the Sky: Role for Microbes in Cloud Formation?


Whether the microorganisms routinely inhabit the upper troposphere – perhaps living on carbon compounds also found there – or wheth... Read More

ASM GM 2013 - Update on H7N9: Should We Be Concerned?


The emergence of human infections with avian influenza viruses (H7N9 and H5N1) have raised concerns about the virus gaining the abi... Read More

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a labo... Read More

Behind the Cover Story: Michael Pollan on Why Bacteria Aren’t the Enemy

Michael Pollan, food author, activist and journalism professor, wrote this week’s cover story about the organisms with which we share our bodies — and how we’re dependent on them. His book “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” came out last month. His last article for the magazine was ab... Read More

The Effects of Fracking on the Microbial Ecology of Groundwater

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. What effect does this process have on the microorganisms that naturally exist in the water in this process?

... Read More

Intestinal Bacteria Protect Against E. Coli O157:H7

A cocktail of non-pathogenic bacteria naturally occurring in the digestive tract of healthy humans can protect against a potentially lethal E. coli infection in animal models according to research presented today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The researc... Read More

The Merlot Microbiome

Plants associated bacteria play a key role in host productivity and health. These bacteria are phylogenetically diverse and form interactions considered neutral, beneficial or detrimental. A better understanding of these interactions will have a direct impact in agriculture by promoting sustaina... Read More

New Methods for Norovirus Detection/Prevention

Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Research... Read More

Food Laboratory Accuracy Remains A Concern

Food microbiology laboratories continue to submit false negative results and false positive results on a routine basis. A retrospective study of nearly 40,000 proficiency test results over the past 14 years, presented today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, ... Read More

Engineered Microbes Glow In the Dark

Scientists at the University of California, Davis have engineered a strain of photosynthetic cyanobacteria to grow without the need for light. They report their findings today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“In this work, we used synthetic biology appr... Read More

Bacteria Use Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide to Produce Electricity

Researchers have engineered a strain of electricity-producing bacteria that can grow using hydrogen gas as its sole electron donor and carbon dioxide as its sole source of carbon. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst report their findings at the 113th General Meeting of the A... Read More

Tit-for-Tat: A Bacterial Counterattack System

Microbial ecology may be a young field but it is well understood already that there is a broad spectrum of interactions between bacterial species, ranging from cooperative to competitive. In a recent paper researchers from John Mekalanos’ lab further characterized a recently discovered mechanism... Read More

ASM GM 2013 - This Week in Microbiology



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ASM GM 2013 - The Effects of Fracking on the Microbial Ecology of Groundwater


Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to ... Read More

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