Pseudomonas chlororaphis for controlling corn rootworms

A selective insecticidal protein from Pseudomonas for controlling corn rootworms
Ute Schellenberger, et al.
Science  22 Sep 2016
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2016/09/22/science.aaf6056
The coleopteran insect western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) is a devastating crop pest in North America and Europe. Although crop plants that produce Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) proteins can limit insect infestation, some insect populations have evolved to be resistance to Bt proteins. Here we describe an insecticidal protein, designated IPD072Aa, that is isolated from Pseudomonas chlororaphis.

journalistic version:
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/09/22/495043248/as-a-gmo-pillar-wobbles-biotech-companies-promise-new-insect-killing-genes

Microbial ecology

A microbial perspective of human developmental biology
Mark R. Charbonneau, et al.
Nature  535, 48–55 (07 July 2016)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v535/n7610/full/nature18845.html

non-bacterial membership of the pregnancy-associated microbiota

Molecular-based studies suggest that most uteruses harbour microbes, with Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Bacteroides among the genera that are most commonly encountered.

stochastic low-level microbial exposures

Taxa associated with CST IV communities, such as Ureaplasma and Prevotella species, …

Lactose is made available specifically to bacterial colonizers of the infant gut by extending it by 3–20 monosaccharide units to yield structures that are known collectively as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs)

Nanoarchaeum equitans

Nanoarchaeum equitans
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanoarchaeum_equitans

Nanoarchaeum appears to be an obligate symbiont on the archaeon Ignicoccus; it must be in contact with the host organism to survive. Nanoarchaeum equitans cannot synthesize lipids but obtains them from its host.

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The interaction of Nanoarchaeum equitans with Ignicoccus hospitalis: proteins in the contact site between two cells
Biochem. Soc. Trans. (2009) 37, 127–132
Tillmann Burghardt, et al.

The two archaea Ignicoccus hospitalis and Nanoarchaeum equitans form a unique intimate association, the character of which is not yet fully understood.
Electron microscopic investigations show that at least two modes of cell–cell interactions exist: (i) the two cells are interconnected via thin fibres; and (ii) the two cell surfaces are in direct contact with each other.

N. equitans has a genome of just 0.49 Mb, by far the smallest of all archaeal cells known today.
It apparently lacks genes for the biosynthesis of lipids, nucleotides, many amino acids and cofactors, i.e. molecules essential for the functioning of a physiologically active cell.
This led to the conclusion that N. equitans cells take up important metabolic products from their hosts [5].
Two studies provide evidence that this is indeed the case: the close match of the membrane lipid structure of both micro-organisms can best be explained by the transport of lipids from I. hospitalis to N. equitans [6]. 13C-labelling demonstrated the uptake of I. hospitalis amino acids by N. equitans cells [3].

Lokiarchaeota

Evolution: Steps on the road to eukaryotes
Nature, 06 May 2015
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14522.html
A new archaeal phylum represents the closest known relatives of eukaryotes, the group encompassing all organisms that have nucleated cells. The discovery holds promise for a better understanding of eukaryotic origins.

journalistic version:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/05/06/404199792/missing-link-microbes-may-help-explain-how-single-cells-became-us

Methane-munching microbes

Sea floors host surprise methane-munching microbes
Nature News. 14 October 2014
http://www.nature.com/news/sea-floors-host-surprise-methane-munching-microbes-1.16151
Organisms living in carbonate rock provide a previously unrecognized sink for the greenhouse gas.

Carbonate rocks near methane seeps in the sea floor are home to thriving ecosystems of microbes that consume that greenhouse gas, suggests research published in Nature Communications.

Chicken producers & salmonella (Aug. 2014)

How Foster Farms Is Solving The Case Of The Mystery Salmonella
August 28, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/08/28/342166299/how-foster-farms-is-solving-the-case-of-the-mystery-salmonella

Scientists have tested some flocks of chickens in the U.S. and Europe and found salmonella in anywhere from 7 to 70 percent of all live birds.

That’s disturbing, because people eventually will eat them. Fully cooking chicken does kill the bacteria. But if salmonella on raw chicken gets on your cutting board and then contaminates, say, some carrots, it can make you really sick.

chicken houses, for example, are designed to keep out wildlife, like mice or wild birds, that carry the bacteria. When chickens are slaughtered, the carcasses are washed with antimicrobial solutions.

According to USDA regulations, no more than 7.5 percent of the chicken carcasses coming from a chicken plant can test positive for salmonella.

last summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found evidence that chicken from Foster Farms had caused a wave of salmonella infections. More than 600 people had gotten sick.

they took samples of what most consumers actually buy: the cut-up parts, such as breasts, thighs and wings.
What they found is now shaking up the whole poultry industry. Their tests showed salmonella on about 25 percent of those cut-up chicken parts.

David Acheson, a former associate commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, says this pattern has been discovered at other poultry companies, too. Whole carcasses are largely free of salmonella, but then the bacteria appear on nearly a quarter of the chicken parts.

when they’re cut up into parts, they warm up about 10 degrees. That warmth may release salmonella that was trapped in skin pores of the chilled carcass.
If any salmonella bacteria are present, the process of cutting up the carcass may spread the microbes around, contaminating lots of chicken parts.

The share of chicken parts that tested positive for salmonella fell from 20 percent to less than 5 percent.

Others, like Seattle attorney Bill Marler, who makes his living suing companies when their food makes people sick, say it’s not good enough. “The standard is, it’s still OK to have a pathogen on your product that can sicken and kill your customers. And as long as that’s the way it is, we’re always going to limp from outbreak to outbreak to outbreak,” he says.

When the USDA declared these E. coli bacteria illegal adulterants in food, the meat industry complained, but it also found new ways to prevent them from poisoning people.

Eliminating salmonella altogether would be difficult — it’s much more common in the environment than disease-causing E. coli.