Monday, January 20, 2020

BacterioFiles 410 - Microbes Modify Muscle Measurement

A laboratory mouse
This episode: Mice that got a microbe transplant from humans with higher physical function performed better in certain ways than mice receiving microbes from humans with lower physical function!

Download Episode (6.7 MB, 9.8 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Stenotrophomonas maltophila

News item

Takeaways
Our bodies and our microbe communities are closely interconnected, with effects going both ways. Studies had previously shown that making changes to the microbe communities of mice could even affect the physical function and body composition of the mice.

This study aimed at addressing the same question in humans. There were certain consistent differences in microbial communities between elderly people with high ability to function physically, compared with low functioning people. These differences carried over in transplants of microbes from people to mice, and mice receiving microbes from high-functioning humans did better in tests of grip strength than mice receiving microbes from low-functioning people.

Journal Paper:
Fielding RA, Reeves AR, Jasuja R, Liu C, Barrett BB, Lustgarten MS. 2019. Muscle strength is increased in mice that are colonized with microbiota from high-functioning older adults. Exp Gerontol 127:110722.

Other interesting stories:

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

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Interview of me on the podcast Curioscity

Another good podcast you should check out is Curioscity, in which the host, Calvin Yeager, interviews other scientists about various aspects of science, their research, and other aspects of how science gets done!

He recently interviewed me about my experience getting a job as a scientist outside academia, and what that's like, so if you'd like to hear about that, here's the link:

Curioscity 53 - What Is Industry?

Monday, January 13, 2020

BacterioFiles 409 - Marine Methane Mostly Munched

Methanococcus species
By Anne Fjellbirkeland,
from PLoS Biol 2004:e358
CC BY 2.5
This episode: Microbes in low-oxygen zones in the ocean consume significant amounts of methane anaerobically!

Download Episode (5.2 MB, 7.6 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Mojiang henipavirus

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Takeaways
Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Fortunately there's not as much of it in the atmosphere, but even smaller amounts can have significant effects on the climate.

One source of methane is low-oxygen zones in the ocean, where certain kinds of archaea make methane as part of their energy metabolism. This study found that other anaerobic microbes in the same areas consume much of this methane, preventing it from reaching the atmosphere.

Journal Paper:
Thamdrup B, Steinsdóttir HGR, Bertagnolli AD, Padilla CC, Patin NV, Garcia‐Robledo E, Bristow LA, Stewart FJ. 2019. Anaerobic methane oxidation is an important sink for methane in the ocean’s largest oxygen minimum zone. Limnol Oceanogr 64:2569–2585.

Other interesting stories:

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

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

Monday, January 6, 2020

BacterioFiles 408 - Currents Carry Cloud Creators

Snowflake
By Alexey Kljatov, CC BY-SA 4.0
This episode: Ocean bacteria brought up from the sea floor into the air can help create clouds!

Download Episode (6.1 MB, 8.9 minutes)

Show notes:
Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces thermodiastaticus

News item

Takeaways
The ocean is an important player affecting the climate of the planet, in many ways. Its effects on clouds influence the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space or trapped as heat, and microbes play a role in this effect. Certain microbes make particles that form the nucleus of water droplets or ice crystals that make up clouds, and other microbes can perform this nucleation themselves.

In this study, an unusual combination of a phytoplankton bloom and strong winds and currents, all in the right places, led to a large number of ice-nucleating bacteria being fed and then brought up from the sea floor and launched into the air, possibly affecting weather patterns in the Arctic.

Journal Paper:
Creamean JM, Cross JN, Pickart R, McRaven L, Lin P, Pacini A, Hanlon R, Schmale DG, Ceniceros J, Aydell T, Colombi N, Bolger E, DeMott PJ. 2019. Ice Nucleating Particles Carried From Below a Phytoplankton Bloom to the Arctic Atmosphere. Geophys Res Lett 46:8572–8581.

Other interesting stories:

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

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