Microbe Magazine

July 2016

Cover Image
Cover ImageA cDNA microarray containing approximately 8,700 gene sequences. With genomic sequencing expanding rapidly, proper gene annotation becomes more crucial but is lagging (see p. 303). (Image © Science Source.)
Microbe Magazine, Cover Image
Cover ImageA cDNA microarray containing approximately 8,700 gene sequences. With genomic sequencing expanding rapidly, proper gene annotation becomes more crucial but is lagging (see p. 303). (Image © Science Source.)
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  • The National Microbiome Initiative
    Image of Author: Tom Schmidt

    We squeezed together under a small roof near the guard station just outside of the White House to avoid the drenching rain. There was excitement in the air as we waited for the launch of The National Microbiome Initiative (https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/05/13/announcing-national-microbiome-... More...

  • Quality Annotations, a Key Frontier in the Microbial Sciences
    Image of Author: Valérie de Crécy-Lagard

    For microbiologists, the sequencing of the genome of the bacterium in 1995 was a pivotal event, one that transformed the microbiological research enterprise. More than 20 years later, with the genomes of some 85,000 organisms sequenced, includ... More...

  • Whole-Genome Sequencing Is Taking over Foodborne Disease Surveillance
    Image of Authors: Heather A. Carleton, and Peter Gerner-Smidt

    About 1 in 6 people are sickened with foodborne diseases each year, and for the most part those illness bouts are a nuisance and self-limiting. However, for some vulnerable populations, severe foodborne illnesses can require hospital care and may even lead to death. Once an individual becomes sic... More...


  • Bacterial Diversity Is Dominant Feature in New Tree of Life
    Image of Author: Carol Potera

    A new rendition of the tree of life includes 92 named bacterial phyla, 26 archaeal phyla, and all five of the eukaryotic supergroups. This tree highlights how bacteria dominate all of biology in terms of diversity. Moreover, although many of the most abundant bacteria have never been seen, they w... More...

  • New Synthetic Cell Challenges One-Gene, One-Trait Hypothesis
    Author: Marcia Stone

    “Life is much more like a symphony orchestra than a piccolo player,” J. Craig Venter says about his institute's new synthetic bacterium. It carries a mere 473 genes, a smaller genome than any autonomously replicating cell ever found in nature. That Venter and his collaborators synthesized a ... More...

  • Minitopics:Microbiology Policy Bulletin Board

    Recent developments involving microbiology and related science policy matters include:

    • The White House, through its Office of Science and Technology Policy, in May launched a National Microbiome Initiative (NBI). NBI, which will be comparing mic...

  • Tunable Laser Monitors Microbes in Packaged Foods, Medical Supplies
    Author: Barry E. DiGregorio

    Combining a tunable diode laser absorption spectrometer (TDLAS) with wavelength modulation (WM) yields an instrument that can rapidly detect carbon dioxide to monitor microbial growth, including in packaged food products and medical instruments and supplies, according to Jie Shao at Zhejiang Norm... More...

  • Zika Virus Research Outpaces Commitments To Fund Such Efforts
    Image of Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Despite prolonged wrangling over how and how much to fund U.S. research on the Zika virus, the research community is making considerable progress studying this pathogen, quickly confirming its capacity to interfere with fetal development. Beyond careful tracking of this flavivirus and extensive a... More...

  • Phages Form Liquid Crystals, Shaping Biofilms
    Author: Shannon Weiman

    Through a novel mechanism, bacteriophage particles link with the surfaces of cells and other nearby polymers to form tenacious biofilms, including those that form within the lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, according to Paul Bollyky of ... More...



  • ASM Meetings and Conferences

    ASM Microbe ONLINE—Content Now Available! ASM Microbe 2016 was jam-packed with informative sessions. Gain access to audio-synced slides from the event throughout the year. You can either purchase the Track Package at $209 per track, or the Full Package at $449. Session reco... More...

  • ASM Public Affairs:ASM on Capitol Hill
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    On April 26, Kathleen Alexander, D.V.M., Ph.D., member of the ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) Committee on Agricultural and Food Microbiology, represented ASM at the 22nd Annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) Capitol Hill Exhibition & Reception. Alexander present... More...

  • Membership:40-, 50-, and 60-Year Members

    The following ASM members are marking 40, 50, and 60 years as members of the Society.

  • Obituary: Arthur L. Koch:Arthur L. Koch
    Image of Authors: Yves Brun, and Clay Fuqua

    Arthur L. Koch, 90, passed away on May 10, 2016, from Alzheimer's Disease. Arthur has been described as “one of the true Renaissance scientists of the past several decades.” He published on diverse topics, including metabolic rates and cell growth, antibiotic resistance, cellular evolution, ... More...

  • Microbe Mentor:Lead Scientist at the USDA: Jeffrey McGarvey
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    What are my options outside of academia for a career?


  • Point-of-Care Workable in Developing Countries: HPV in Self-Collected Specimens
    Author: David C. Holzman

    Point-of-care testing appears workable even under highly difficult circumstances—specifically, when evaluated among women in Papua New Guinea, who are at risk for becoming infected with human papillomavirus, a cause of cervical cancer, according to Andrew Vallely of the University of New South Wa... More...

  • New Route of TB Transmission Discovered
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    Scientists have identified a new route of tuberculosis transmission, via the anal glands of mongoose that live in northern Botswana and northwestern Zimbabwe. The secretions are an oily substance where the hydrophobic bacterium, , resides. First a... More...

  • Arginine Disrupts Oral Biofilms and Shifts Bacterial Makeup
    Image of

    Supplementation of L-arginine may increase oral health, finds a collaboration of scientists from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., and Colgate-Palmolive Technology Center in Piscataway, N.J. When added to a multispecies biofilm, argi... More...

  • No Effect of Triclosan on Human Microbiome
    Image of

    Triclosan found in household products has no major effect on gut microbiome composition, report researchers at Standford University in Stanford, Calif., and Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Senior scientist Julie Parsonnet and first author Angela Poole led a team to test the effects of the comm... More...

  • Cystic Fibrosis Infectious Bacterium Evolves in Bursts
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    The opportunistic bacterium evolves and adapts in bursts to survive in the lungs of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, as described by first author Inêz Silva in an mSystems report. The research team, led by Leonilde Moreira, examined a series o... More...

  • A Microbial Clue to Namib Desert Fairy Circles
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    New research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology proposes that microbial phytopathogenesis plays a role in “fairy circle” (FC) formation in the Namib Desert. The southwestern African desert contains FC, which are circular deadened areas surrounded by tall grass rings. First... More...

  • Improving Infection Antibiotic Susceptibility Predictions
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    Can clinicians predict antibiotic resistance characteristics of current urinary tract infections from previous infection history? Researchers from the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, have addressed this question with an analysis of nearly 20,000 paired positive urine cultures. The sci... More...

  • New Tools to Research Novel Virus
    Image of

    Newly generated antibodies against human hepegivirus 1 (HHpgV-1), also known as human pegivirus 2 (HPgV-2), will help researchers learn more about this flavivirus, which was first detected in Fall 2015. First author Katie Coller and senior author George Dawson tested seroprevalence using the anti... More...

  • Viral Infection Studied over 15 Years
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    How do chronic infections change over time? This is the broad question addressed in recent research published in the Journal of Virology. In their study, a team of scientists headed by Fabio Luciani from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, investigated a hepatitis B vir... More...


  • Reviews and Resources:Metabolism and Bacterial Pathogenesis
    Author: Daniel P. Haeusser

    “Although several factors could theoretically contribute to a microorganism's ability to colonize the intestinal ecosystem, effective completion for nutrients is paramount to success.” So the editors reference researcher Rolf Freter in their introduction to this new, integrative text. This v... More...

  • Reviews and Resources:Climate Change and Microbial Ecology: Current Research and Future Trends
    Author: Daniel P. Haeusser

    As one might expect, this new text nicely reviews important topics in environmental microbiology research related to the increasing trends of global climate change. Editor Jürgen Marxsen does a great job with the breadth of coverage, including chapters on viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protists al... More...

  • Reviews and Resources:Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 11th Ed.
    Author: Daniel P. Haeusser

    Many readers are doubtless already aware of this extensive and essential reference for current information and practice related to clinical microbiology. Covering organismal biology, disease characteristics, research and diagnostic techniques, antimicrobial agents, and safety practices, the recen... More...

  • Reviews and Resources:Practical Handbook of Microbiology, 3rd Ed.
    Author: Daniel P. Haeusser

    For those who may not get much use out of the mammoth two-volume reference above, but would appreciate a more compact volume that also extends past clinical application, this volume may be of interest. Like the work above, this handbook starts with a section of chapters that cover general microbi... More...

  • Application Deadlines

    ASM Grant Writing Course. Senior-level graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, and early-career scientists are invited to apply for the ASM Grant Writing Course (formerly the ASM Kadner Institute). Sponsored by the ASM Committee on Graduate and Postdoctoral Education to... More...

  • ASM Meetings Calendar

    31 July–3 August 2016.

  • Small Things Considered
    Authors: Rachel , and Elie Diner

    Whether to make our own meal or eat food prepared by others is a common dilemma. In the natural world, the dine-in vs. take-out dilemma plays out differ-ently: do organisms make their own food by means such as photosynthesis, or rely on consuming “pre-made” organic compounds for sustenance? Organ... More...


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