Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Skipping a week

Sorry, no episode this week, due to vacations and busy-ness.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

BacterioFiles 388 - Floor Fungi Fracture Phthalates

This episode: Microbes in household dust help degrade potentially harmful plasticizer chemicals!

Thanks to Ashleigh Bope for her contribution!

Download Episode (6.7 MB, 7.3 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Rosa rugosa leaf distortion virus

News item

Takeaways
Modern life and technology comes with modern challenges, including exposure to chemicals in building materials and such that humans didn't encounter much before the last few generations. Phthalate esters, found in PVC and other materials, can accumulate in homes and cause some problems, especially in children.

Modern life is also new to microbes, but they are very adaptable and versatile. In this study, microbes in household dust show some ability to break down the phthalates over time. Whether this activity is significant and beneficial to residents remains to be discovered.

Journal Paper:
Bope A, Haines SR, Hegarty B, Weschler CJ, Peccia J, Dannemiller KC. Degradation of phthalate esters in floor dust at elevated relative humidity. Environ Sci: Processes Impacts.

Other interesting stories:

Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

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Floor Fungi Fracture Phthalates

Monday, June 10, 2019

BacterioFiles 387 - Carbonate Creators Combat Cracking

Sporosarcina pasteurii
By Ghosh et al. 2019. 
PLoS ONE 14(1):e0210339 
CC BY 4.0
This episode: Bacteria strengthen concrete while helping to prevent damage from road salts!

Download Episode (6.8 MB, 7.4 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Azospirillum brasilense

News item

Takeaways
Winter is a bad time for concrete outside. Water seeps into cracks and freezes, causing bigger cracks that widen into potholes. Even the road salts used to keep water from freezing can react with compounds in the cement to break down the structure of the concrete.

This study looks to bacteria for a solution for protecting concrete from these reactions. Sporosarcina pasteurii, given the right nutrients, can take the harmful salt compounds and turn them into minerals that strengthen the concrete instead of weakening it.

Journal Paper:
Ksara M, Newkirk R, Langroodi SK, Althoey F, Sales CM, Schauer CL, Farnam Y. 2019. Microbial damage mitigation strategy in cementitious materials exposed to calcium chloride. Construction and Building Materials 195:1–9.

Other interesting stories:

Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, RSS, Google Play. Support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, June 3, 2019

BacterioFiles 386 - Cupola Contaminant Cleaners

Pisa cupola painting
By JoJan, CC BY-SA 3.0
This episode: Bacteria help gently clean residue off artworks painted on stone!

Download Episode (5.6 MB, 6.1 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Cellulophaga virus Cba171

Takeaways
More and more cleaning products these days contain an ingredient called "enzymes." These are proteins that break down contaminants biologically instead of just removing them chemically, in a targeted manner.

In a similar approach, this study explores applying bacteria directly to classic artwork painted directly on stone, to clean up residues on the surface. These bacteria can produce enzymes on site and degrade the contaminants while leaving the underlying paint intact.

Journal Paper:
Ranalli G, Zanardini E, Rampazzi L, Corti C, Andreotti A, Colombini MP, Bosch‐Roig P, Lustrato G, Giantomassi C, Zari D, Virilli P. 2019. Onsite advanced biocleaning system on historical wall paintings using new agar-gauze bacteria gel. J Appl Microbiol 126:1785–1796.

Other interesting stories:

Post questions or comments here or email to bacteriofiles@gmail.com. Thanks for listening!

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts, RSS, Google Play. Support the show at Patreon, or check out the show at Twitter or Facebook.