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TWiM 19 Letters

Jim writes:


The NPR Science Friday topic recently concerned a discussion and debate amongst several researchers about the Black Plague
( http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/201109023 ).  The discussion seemed pretty complete, but as a lay person I'm  still not sure I understand how the bacterium are identified using old skeletal material, and question that prairie dogs are the major source of Yesinia pestis in the Southwestern US rather than mice, and would like to know if flea excrement is really the material that  transfers the bacteria to people.

Great shows, always.


Smithfield, VA

Jim writes:

Hi guys,

Dr Schmidt, I think, said in TWIM 12, around the 24 minute mark, that bacterial plaques keep growing but viral plaques do not.  It see
ms to me as a person that both would grow to the limits of the dish, or until the nutrient is exhausted, another plaque is encountered, or the environment changed (dried out, chilled, overheated, etc.).  Could you please discuss this a little more.


Smithfield, VA

[michael was referring to bacterial plaques formed on eukaryotic cells by Burkholderia, and said they continue to grow, in contrast to viral plaques which typically stop]

Michael writes:

Hello Twim and twiv Team.

Wanted to say that i very much enjoyed the Podcast nr 6. Im a Great Fan of Phages myself because they introduced me to Biology in general. I used to have a very poor understanding of biology (our school thought skipping bio and use the time for math instead would be better...) but since i firstly glanced at a Bacteriophage virion of T4 a couple of months back it created a spark in me and i  wanted to know everything about them. Well i had (and still have) to study biology from scratch but i think i made in this short time great advances. Your Podcasts twiv and Twim Viagra are excellent and provide entertainment and Education. Also thanks to the fact that i live in china and here it is very cheap to buy reproductions of Scientific books cheaply (5$ in china compared to +100$ in more "Developed" Parts of the world) i could provide myself with very good learning materials.

Would love to hear more about Phages in the Future, also i would recommend a book. Called "The Bacteriophages" Edited by Richard Calendar. It describes many aspects on Phages and is absolutly perfect for anybody who wants to learn more about them in Detail also describes many aspects of phage therapy. Its not written for the Bio newb like myself but thanks to google i could learn everything i didnt understand along the way.

Greetings from China


PS i always listen to your Podcasts on my Phone in the kitchen while i cook. So everytime there is a rather long Twiv/Twim my wife knows what im gonna cook will be good since i will spend at least one hour in the kitchen. So i guess thanks from my wife too^^

David  writes:

Is it possible to create a liquid culture that simulates the natural conditions in which Pseudomonoas aeruginosa can survive? I was hoping that one that simulates mammalian lung tissue might work.

David S. Abuin
Microbiology student from NC State University

BTW, love the podcast.

Don writes:

Could you do a episode on Wolbachia?. It seems to control the reproduction of Drosophila, mosquito etc. Does it's influence extend  to other multicultural {verts? as well.

Two other brief comments,,was there any follow up to using metallic copper in hospitals to control spread of drug resistant microbes>, and although the DRACO protein was undoubtedly made in a Slytherin lab, does not Hogwarts code require a balanced "wait and see" approach. Ill bet you are Ravenclaw/ Don

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