Microbe Magazine

November 2013

Cover Image
Cover Image

Cover: Microorganisms in arctic and Antarctic regions could have a marked influence on global gas fluxes in response to climate change (Image © Art Wolfe/Science Source).

Microbe Magazine, Cover Image
Cover Image

Cover: Microorganisms in arctic and Antarctic regions could have a marked influence on global gas fluxes in response to climate change (Image © Art Wolfe/Science Source).


  • Co-Evolving Host-Pathogen Molecular Pairings Determine Host Range
    Author: Shannon Weiman

    Molecular interactions between microbial virulence factors and host defense proteins dictate host range, disease pathology, and, possibly, evolutionary trajectories of both hosts and pathogens, according to several researchers who spoke during the plenary session, “Intricacies of Host-Microbe Co-... More...

  • Life at the Poles in the Age of Global Warming: Part 1
    Image of Authors: Helen A. Vrionis, Robert V. Miller, and Lyle G. Whyte

    The debate over carbon emissions, global warming, and climate change helps to build interest in extremophilic environments at the North and South Poles. Functioning close to the thermodynamic limit for life, the cryobiosphere is especially sensitive to changes in climate while playing an importan... More...

  • Microbial Muse: Drawing on Microbes for Inspiration
    Image of Author: Peter Brannen

    Visit systems biologist Peter Larsen at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and you can expect to find a pile of CDs on his desk and a Pandora station tuned to the masters of improvisation. You might recognize John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, or Miles Davis, or it could be ... More...


  • Climate Change Affecting Microbes in North America Soils
    Image of Author: Barry E. DiGregorio

    Changes within microbial communities in arid topsoils in the western region of the United States can be correlated for the first time with global warming trends, according to microbiologist Ferran Garcia-Pichel of Arizona State University in Tempe and his collaborators there and at the Universida... More...

  • DNA Inhibitors again among Top New Antibacterial Prospects
    Author: Jeffrey L. Fox

    Several new antimicrobial candidate drugs that share enzyme targets with fluoroquinolones but act through distinct binding sites dominated the poster summary session “Early New Antimicrobial Agents” at the 2013 Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Denver, Co... More...

  • Microbes Occupy, May Be Degrading Plastic Debris in Oceans
    Image of Author: Carol Potera

    Plastic, the most common debris contaminating ocean ecosystems, supports and is contaminated by complex microbial communities, called the “plastisphere.” These microbes colonize and may help to degrade plastic polymers, according to Linda Amaral-Zettler at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) a... More...

  • Viral Symbionts Undermine Bacteria, Benefitting Hosts
    Author: Marcia Stone

    Bacteriophages adhering to host mucus (BAM) “provide a previously unrecognized, non-host-derived, antibacterial immune defense applicable to all metazoan mucous surfaces,” according to Jeremy J. Barr at San Diego State University (SDSU) and his collaborators there as well as the University of Cal... More...

  • Many Plant Viruses Collaborate, Helping Their Hosts Survive
    Author: Marcia Stone

    “Aphid lethal paralysis virus (ALPV) spreads to the insects through the vascular systems of the plants on which they feed—a plant-virus collaboration that serves to both sicken the predator aphids and extend the host range of the virus,” says Leslie L. Domier at the University of Illinois in Urba... More...

  • Some Surprises from Single-Cell Analyses of Bacteria, Yeasts
    Author: John Otrompke

    Recent technological advances are making single-cell analysis more widely accessible and better suited for analyzing microorganisms, according to several researchers who spoke during the session “Single-Cell Techniques in Microbiology,” part of the Federation of European Microbiological Societies... More...

  • Highlights from Recent ASM Journals
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    Koreans with hepatitis B virus (HBV) suffer a high rate of mortality from liver cancer, and men with HBV are roughly five times more likely than women to develop that cancer. Now Bum-Joon Kim of Seoul National University, Korea, et al. have traced this likelihood to a novel mutation in the hepati... More...

  • Highlights from Recent ASM Journals
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    Foodborne illness sickens an estimated 9.4 million and kills around 1,300 people annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Produce accounts for nearly half the illnesses, and 23% of the deaths. Now, in an effort to help reduce those illnesses and ... More...

  • Highlights from Recent ASM Journals
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    More than one-quarter of residents of 26 nursing homes in Orange County, Calif., carry community-associated methicillin-resistant , which spreads more easily, and may cause more severe infection, than hospital-associated MRSA, according to resea... More...

  • Highlights from Recent ASM Journals
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    Many resistance genes now found in pathogens appear to have originated from harmless environmental bacteria, but the location and circumstances of the gene transfers remain unknown. One venue that has come under suspicion is wastewater treatment plants, where environmental bacteria meet human com... More...



  • Reviews and Resources
    Author: Simon Silver
  • Application Deadlines

    History of Microbiology Research Travel Awards. The Center for the History of Microbiology/ASM Archives (CHOMA) Committee is pleased to announce two Travel Awards of $1500 each for research at the ASM Archives in the area of the history of microbiology. The grants support r... More...

  • ASM Meetings Calendar

    4–7 November 2013.

  • Employment
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  • Small Things Considered
    Image of Author: S. Marvin Friedman

    To paraphrase an old adage, no bacterium is an island. Indeed, bacteria in nature exist as polymicrobial communities where interactions between individuals influence activities of the entire population. This is especially true of pathogenic bacteria. Nevertheless, we frequently prescribe antibiot... More...

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