Microbiome

Burning the Forest, Not Just the Trees

Wildfires affect both the visible parts of plants and the plant microbiome. Understanding these effects helps scientists mitigate the effects of wildfires. This research examined microbial DNA samples from tissues of young quaking aspen saplings after a prescribed burn. Aspen relies largely on fire to regenerate. This work demonstrates that fire affects the entire plant microbiome, not just nearby soil.

Weizmann Scientists Find That Bacteria May Aid Anti-Cancer Immune Response

The Weizmann Institute’s Prof. Yardena Samuels, Prof. Eran Segal, and Dr. Ravid Straussman, with partners at MD Anderson Cancer Center, the NCI, and elsewhere, have discovered that the bacteria living inside cancer cells can be harnessed to provoke an immune reaction against the tumor. The work could also help explain findings showing that the microbiome affects the success of immunotherapy.

Symbionts of Methane Eating Microbes Fix Nitrogen

Sediments on the ocean floor contain large amounts of methane. Two groups of microbes work together in symbiosis to break down this methane in oxygen-deprived sediments. New research shows that both groups can fix nitrogen to satisfy their need for nutrients from methane. This helps the microbes hedge against changes in their environment.

Antibiotics for C-sections Effective After Umbilical Cord Clamped

Antibiotics for cesarean section births are just as effective when they’re given after the umbilical cord is clamped as before clamping – the current practice – and could benefit newborns’ developing microbiomes, according to Rutgers co-authored research. The study, by far the largest of its kind and published in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, challenges current recommendations for antibiotic use. Administering antibiotics after clamping does not increase the risk of infection at the site of C-section incisions, the study concludes.

Microbes in dental plaque look more like relatives in soil than those on the tongue

A new study out of UChicago and the Marine Biological Laboratory used state-of-the-art sequencing technology to deep-screen the genomes of microbes known as TM7 present in the mouth. This approach determined that TM7 species living on the tongue more closely resembled those found in the GI tract, while TM7 species in dental plaque more closely resembled environmental species, providing a hint at how plaque may have played a role in microbial colonization of the body.

How and why microbes promote and protect against stress

The bacteria, yeast and viruses that make up the human microbiome affect physical health, behavior and emotions. Some microbes in the human microbiome prosper when the body is under stress, while other microbes contribute to buffering the body against stress. Evolutionary theory suggests reciprocal relationships between microbes in the human body and stress; these relationships can possibly be harnessed to promote physical and mental health.

PNNL Scientists Elected AAAS Fellows

Two Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers, one a world-leading authority on microorganisms and their impact on soil and human health, and the other an expert on coastal ecosystem restoration, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Gut Microbiome Manipulation Could Result from Virus Discovery

Scientists have discovered how a common virus in the human gut infects and takes over bacterial cells – a finding that could be used to control the composition of the gut microbiome, which is important for human health. The Rutgers co-authored research, which could aid efforts to engineer beneficial bacteria that produce medicines and fuels and clean up pollutants, is published in the journal Nature.

Antibiotic Exposure in Children Under Age 2 Associated with Chronic Conditions

Children under age 2 who take antibiotics are at greater risk for childhood-onset asthma, respiratory allergies, eczema, celiac disease, obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a paper written jointly by Mayo Clinic and Rutgers researchers. While previous studies have looked at the association of antibiotics with single diseases, this is the first to look at the association across many diseases.

Study Provides First Evidence of a Relationship between a Bird’s Gut and its Brain

A study of the relationships between cognition and the gut microbiome of captive zebra finches showed that their gut microbiome characteristics were related to performance on a cognitive assay where they learned a novel foraging technique. Researchers also identified potentially critical bacteria that were relatively more abundant in birds that performed better on this assay. This correlation provides some of the first evidence of a relationship between a bird’s gut microbiome and its brain.

Surprising Players in Acute Liver Failure Point to Potential Treatment, Weizmann Institute Scientists Find

Liver failure – often due to acetaminophen overdose – is fatal in 80% of cases. The labs of Profs. Ido Amit and Eran Elinav discovered three liver-cell subsets that contribute to disease progression, and found that depleting the microbiome acts on those subsets to reduce liver damage and increase survival rates. The research may lead to treatments for liver failure.

‘Honey bee, it’s me’

For a honey bee, few things are more important than recognizing your nestmates. Being able to tell a nestmate from an invader could mean the difference between a honey-stocked hive and a long, lean winter. New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that honey bees rely on chemical cues related to their shared gut microbial communities, instead of genetic relatedness, to identify members of their colony.

Webinar Series on the Gut-Brain Axis and the Microbiome

There is currently much interest in the gastrointestinal microbiota and its modulation as it relates to implications for host health. A notable aspect is the bidirectional communication between the gut microbiota and brain, referred to as the gut-brain-axis. Nutritional interventions have powerful effects on the gut microbiota but another significant and often overlooked factor is the influence of physical activity.

Researchers Say Genetics May Determine Wound Infection and Healing

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers have determined that genetics may play a role in how wounds heal. Caleb Phillips, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University and director of the Phillips Laboratory in the Department of Biological Sciences, and doctoral student Craig Tipton led the study, “Patient genetics is linked to chronic wound microbiome composition and healing,” published Thursday (June 18) in the open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal PLOS Pathogens.

A return to the wild for better immune health

A research team led by the University of Adelaide has found that revegetation of green spaces within cities can improve soil microbiota diversity towards a more natural, biodiverse state, which has been linked to human health benefits.

In the study, published in the journal Restoration Ecology, researchers compared the composition of a variety of urban green space vegetation types of varying levels of vegetation diversity, including lawns, vacant lots, parklands, revegetated woodlands and remnant woodlands within the City of Playford Council area in South Australia.