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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Poll: Will Vibrio natriegens replace E. coli as model organism?

In the poll of the week we surveyed on what people think about Vibrio natriegens. Whether it can replace E. coli as the model organism. You can find the research on V. natriegens here.

Q) Will Vibrio natriegens replace E. coli as model organism?

a) Yes = 0%
b) No = 33.3%
c) May be = 66.7%

Send in your thoughts and your comments below

Human Microbiome and the genes on move

We humans share “culture” in much unique ways, like sharing customs, cuisine, music or language. Similarly for microbiome, they also share unique features by dwelling in and on us. In a recent research published in the journal Nature, Eric Alm and Ilana Brito from MIT and Harvard with associated colleagues took a deep insight into microbes as how they are in the developing world population influencing their make up.

Image from Pixabay

Horizontal gene transfer is a process by which certain genetic elements can move between organisms. These “mobile genes” inside microbes can help individuals to adapt to their environment.

In 2008, Human Microbiome Project (HMP) of National Institute of Health (NIH) began a survey of human microbiome on larger scale by gathering samples like saliva, skin swabs, and stool from healthy North Americans and primary those living in urban areas. The microbes from the samples were sequenced for the goal to understand how they influence health and disease.

In their current research they wanted to understand how the microbiome of a population from the developing world will compare to HMP dataset. Brito travelled quite far from urban North America to South Pacific islands of Fiji where native villagers live in remote and isolated communities.

“I wanted to track microorganisms that move from place to place, and I thought the best place for doing this was where all contacts are local contacts who use local water and food,” explains Brito, a postdoc in the lab of Eric Alm, an institute member at the Broad Institute, professor of biological engineering at MIT, and co-director of the MIT Center for Microbiome and Therapeutics.  “In contrast, in big cities, we come into contact with a lot of different people, eat food from around the world, and use lots of hygiene products and antibiotics which can prevent the transmission of even endogenous microbes.”

There were about 100-150 people living in each village and HMP had been limited to the amount of information collected from its participants. Brito conducted a thorough survey of the villagers she met and also collected samples. She not only captured the human microbiome but also reservoirs of microbial community. The name of this project was “Fiji Community Microbiome Project” or FijiCOMP.

Brito returned with more than 1000 samples and carried metagenomic sequencing of over 500 samples. It was a large shift from little data to larger data set. The information was large enough for the researchers that led them develop and assemble the information in new way.
Brito and Alm were looking into the mobile genes that have been shared among the species and their crucial functions.

“If you look at a microbial genome with 5,000 genes in it, which ones are particularly important?” Alm asks. “Probably not all 5,000 genes. Most of them are probably either housekeeping genes that every bacterium has or some random selfish gene. But if you go into an environment and see a particular gene being transferred to many different species, to every bug in this environment, which is maybe rich in tetracycline, [and if this is a] tetracycline resistance gene, then you’re like, aha! Then it’s likely that gene is one … of the 5,000 genes that’s super important.”

Brito and his colleagues looked at the gene transfers for not only at the Fijian samples but also from HMP to understand how local environment has influenced the microbiome. One of the major difference between FijiCOMP and HMP data was their diet.

“While 16S sequencing can identify which species are present and let us make associations between particular species and disease, what the mobile genes tell us is that even if we know the species, there seem to be culturally important genes that are crossing species boundaries that don’t show up in the 16S data,” says Alm. “So if we want to fully understand the public health impact of the microbiome overall, we need to not only track the species, but also the genes of interest. Combining single-cell and metagenomic analysis provides a powerful way to do it.”

Source: MIT News

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Bacteria to clean oil spills - Scientists decoded the genes responsible

What not microbes can do? They are smallest molecular machines which we often use to make our hard work go ease and sometimes we highjack their mechanisms to do our work. Although it sounds rude but if you think over bacteria which also harm us might make u feel other way round.

Oil in water (Pixabay)

Bacteria adapt themselves based on the environmental ills and strict adverse conditions. They evolve and their genes get modified accordingly. So say hello to the marine microbes that can resist hard environmental conditions and use hydrocarbons as a source of energy. This bacterial mechanism can help us by cleaning oil spills.

At first, scientist needs to figure out which bacteria are the most efficient oil eaters and could be less harmful for the environment. Two scientists from the University of Texas at Austin, US decoded the genes that can enable microbes to metabolize oil.

“We successfully identified bacteria that degraded each of these compounds, and were surprised to find that many different bacteria fed on aromatic hydrocarbons, even though these are much harder to break down,” they write in an article. “Some of these bacteria, such as Colwellia, had already been identified as factors in the degradation of oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill (in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico), but we also found many new ones.”

They go on to elucidate: “This included Neptuniibacter, which had not previously been known as an important oil-degrader during the spill, and Alcanivorax, which had not been thought to be capable of degrading aromatic hydrocarbons. Taken together, our results indicated that many different bacteria may act together as a community to degrade complex oil mixtures.”


No need of GMOs when cotton can grow better with bacteria

Like good bacteria in our guts help us to maintain our health, similarly there are good bacteria that are beneficial for plants growth and health. A new treatment for cotton seeds drew a lot of attention.

Unlike GMOs, microbe enhanced cotton growth is now much accepted as the first product from Indigo Agriculture, and is already growing on 50,000acres of land in southern US. CEO of Indigo Agriculture, David Perry treatment increases yields as much as irrigation can.

A field of cotton from seeds treated with Indigo’s microbes. (Source: Technology Review)

Several international experts are arguing about global agricultural productivity is not fast enough to satisfy the global demand for food. On the other hand, there are intense pressures on availability of land, to reduce chemical fertilizers or pesticides and also on increase yield. So adding microbes could be effective and less controversial than using GMOs.

 Seed treatments containing such kind of useful microbes are called as “biologicals”. The microbiome that is associating with roots, surface of the plant or even inside the plant maintains health and growth. The idea was to isolate the good bacteria or fungi and then after successful analyzing and characterizing their properties, they are used back into the plant.

The recent advancement in computational biology and associating techniques of DNA sequencing made it more economical to work on huge database of microbial genetic information in search for insights that will help the crops grow faster and healthier. Indigo  has built a database of these microbes isolated from crops and thrive  extreme conditions.


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Monday, 25 July 2016

Genetic Target Could Help Fight Deadly Drug-resistant Infections.

Pic: Pixabay

It is no longer news that nosocomial infection and other infections been battled by patients is as a result of resistant to drugs. Fungal infection is one of those that exhibit a major threat to hospital patients and have proven difficult to treat. We could now believe that ways to have effective treatment has been unlocked by scientists. Researchers at The Ohio State University are the first to identify a potential gene-based approach to increasing the immune response to the fungus Candida albicans, which can find its way into the bloodstream and vital organs, including the kidneys. Tests of a potential treatment approach in mice rescued the animals from death. Invasive Candida infection is one of the leading causes of hospital-acquired bloodstream infections, which carry a mortality rate ranging from 45 to 75 percent.

Patient with an organ transplant who are on immunosuppressive treatment  and catheterized patients  like those with cancer receiving chemotherapy are highly susceptible to these infections, which can be lethal a reported by lead researcher Jian Zhang, an associate professor of microbial infection and immunity. "We've found a potential way to manipulate the immune system to treat invasive, life-threatening cases that are resistant to treatment," he said.

When they began their study, Zhang and his team knew that a group of molecules called C-type lectin receptors play a key role in controlling fungal infections. In healthy individuals whose bodies fight off the infection, these receptors detect the bad fungal cells and set off a chain of events that kicks the immune system into action. Through previous work, the researchers knew that a gene called CBLB played a role in the process, but the exact role was unclear. Through tests of human cells in petri dishes and in mice, Zhang's group was able to pinpoint what CBLB does. CBLB targets two proteins (dectin 1 and 2), which send messages crucial for a robust immune response. The dectin proteins' job is to recognize the carbohydrates that line the fungi's cell wall and kick off an appropriate response by immune cells. In a perfect scenario, CBLB's role is to guard against a too-intense immune response to the Candida infection. It push down inflammation and prevents tissue damage by moving proteins to a molecular "trash can," Zhang said.

But in weak hospitalized patients with bloodstream infections, CBLB stands in the way of an optimal immune response, Zhang said. In these patients, the immune response is dampened to a level that no longer protects patients against fungal invaders. Through their work in mice, the researchers confirmed that if they knocked out CBLB function either through eliminating or deactivating it, the animals' immune systems waged a greater battle against the yeast. "Ideally if you can down regulate or inactivate the gene, the antifungal response will be accelerated so you can clear the infection," Zhang said. His team confirmed this in mice by injecting "small interference RNA" in an attempt to interrupt CBLB expression. Then they injected Candida albicans 24 hours later. "We found when we do it this way; we can actually rescue the mice from death."

This research have thrown open the door for further research exploring the possibility of a gene-based treatment for humans that would target CBLB to allow patients' immune systems to effectively tackle the invader.

Article: “Targeting CBLB as a potential therapeutic approach for disseminated candidiasis” Yun Xiao, Juan Tang, Hui Guo, Yixia Zhao, Rong Tang, Song Ouyang, Qiuming Zeng, Chad A Rappleye, Murugesan V S Rajaram, Larry S Schlesinger, Lijian Tao, Gordon D Brown, Wallace Y Langdon, Belinda T Li & Jian Zhang, Nature Medicine, doi:10.1038/nm.4141, published online 18 July 2016.


What are gut bacteria doing in critically ill lungs?

From recent research, detecting bacteria that normally should be in the gut inside lungs of patient and animals could change response of care giver in Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It has been reported that in critically ill patient gut bacteria are been isolated from their lungs a location where they normally shouldn’t survive and this had led to more severe condition of the patient as the normal flora are been outnumbered.  The scientist that found out about this published it in Nature Microbiology, and consisted of teams of scientist from the University of Michigan Medical School. They concluded in their research that beyond initial perception it is very much possible that change in microbiota of the lung can affect the severity of illness linked with lung dysfunction.
This conclusion was reached when the researcher found out the effect in 68 patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and in rodents as test organism. With the aide bacterial culture techniques and genetic tools, they were able to study the lung microbiome of humans with ARDS for the first time and compare them to samples from healthy volunteers. It’s been on record that over 200,000 Americans develop ARDS each year and many of them are among the million Americans who develop sepsis. Nearly half of ARDS and sepsis patients die from those conditions."Our results suggest that in our past attempts to find treatments for sepsis and ARDS, we may have been overlooking a major part of the story," says lead author Robert P. Dickson, M.D., a critical care physician and laboratory scientist. "Virtually all of our attempts to treat these critical illnesses have been aimed at fixing the disordered inflammation and tissue injury we can see in our patients. But our study raises the possibility that this inflammation and injury may actually be downstream consequences of an upstream source: disordered bacterial communities in the gut and lung."

A vicious cycle
The researcher in their opinion believes that patients with these respiratory conditions may actually be stuck in a vicious cycle caused by dysbiosis - an out-of-whack microbiome. According to their discoveries, they suggest that the cascade involve is like looking into age long question of "chicken and the egg" feedback loop. Changes in the microbiome lead to inflammation, as the body's immune system tries to fend off what it sees as invaders. And the inflammation in turn injures the delicate lung tissue. The injury and inflammation result in changes to the environment within the lung, thus, allowing microbes that don't normally grow there to invade and/or multiply if initially they are present but with lower loads. Hence, in order to improve patient’s condition, ways to break the vicious cycle have to be sought so as to keep the normal floral relatively normal.  

Most importantly, the quest to know the route in which the gut bacteria entered the lung was undertaken by the researchers. However, in the animals with sepsis, they did rule out the usual route by which microbes get into the lung every day - through the upper respiratory tract of the mouth, nose and throat. One possible explanation - one that researchers have speculated about since the 1950's - is that in patients with critical illness, the walls of the intestines get "leaky," and bacteria escape and travel upward into the lungs. Another potential explanation is that small numbers of these gut bacteria were present in the lungs all along, but couldn't grow for lack of the proper environmental conditions. "We've only recently started thinking of the lungs as an ecosystem," says Dickson. "So we're just now sorting out the rules for how these bacterial communities get established, both in health and in critical illness."

Continuing the Investigation
The lead researcher - Dickson noted that the new findings explain what critical care teams have known for quite some time now that the gut microbiome is in a way linked to a person's chances of surviving a critical illness. Since, 1950’s animal studies have shown that pre-treatment of the gut with antibiotics before trauma or other critical illness can protect against lung injury and death.  A common procedure in some countries is to pre-treat patient with antibiotics in order to selectively decontaminate the digestive tract and more often uninfected patients in ICU are treated with antibiotics to suppress microbiome so as to prevent organ failure. But in the US because of concerns that antibiotic use could accelerate the rise of resistant strain to modern antibiotics such pre-treatment is not carried out.

Presently, in a bid to unravel lung-gut microbiome mystery, Dickson and colleagues have already begun capturing samples from more patients at risk for ARDS in the intensive care units of U-M's University Hospital. U-M is part of the National Institutes of Health's ARDS clinical trials network called Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury, or PETAL. Dickson is also an associate director of U-M's Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care, which brings scientists, engineers and clinicians together to advance understanding of diseases like ARDS.

To show that the gut bacteria were alive in the lungs, not just detectable as DNA fragment from dead bacteria tools such as oxygen-free growth chambers, germ-free animal facilities and advanced genetic sequencing and cultivation tools will be used. This will be made possible through University of Michigan Medical School’s Host Microbiome Initiative, one the research have access to through the lead researcher who is an associate director at U-M’s Center.
"In the long run, we need to start thinking of the microbiome as an organ that can fail in critically ill patients," says Dickson. "We're studying how it gets disordered, how it impacts other organs, and how we can fix it. The importance of the microbiome in the ICU has been clear for decades, but with these new tools we're finally able to ask and answer the right questions. It's a really exciting time."

With the increase in research on how Gut bacteria affect us and more of Host-Pathogen relationship, this is a research worth following up.

Article: “Enrichment of the lung microbiome with gut bacteria in sepsis and the acute respiratory distress syndrome” Robert P. Dickson, Benjamin H. Singer, Michael W. Newstead, Nicole R. Falkowski, John R. Erb-Downward, Theodore J. Standiford & Gary B. Huffnagle, Nature Microbiology, doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.113, published online 18 July 2016.

Adapted from Medical News -

The new findings suggest that a cycle of microbiome disruption, inflammation and tissue injury may be involved in critical illness involving the lungs
Image Credit: University of Michigan


Gut bacteria can trace human migrations

Evolution of human took million years and trillions of microbes have followed too in this journey according to a new research published recently in the journal Science. The work also highlights that we have missed many microbes too in our long evolutionary journey and some of them still inhabit in our early cousin apes. This might open gates of some human diseases as the study believes.

Researchers have been trying to find the coorelation between the gut microbes and human behaviour, disease, health, etc. But where from these microbes came?

To unveil this mystery, Andrew Moeller (currently a post doc at University of California, Berkeley) as a part of his doctoral dissertation in evolutionary biology studied gut bacteria isolated from the faeces  of 47 chimpanzees of Tanzania, 24 bonobos of Democratic Republic of Congo, 24 gorillas from Cameroon and also from 16humans of Connecticut. Moeller along with his colleagues compared the DNA sequences of every rapidly evolving genes that is common in the gut bacteria of apes and in humans. Post analysing they segregated DNA gene sequences and put into family trees.
It was found that most of the gut microbes have been residing and evolving along with us for longer time. Moeller finds two of three major families of gut bacteria from apes and humans share a common ancestor more than 15million years ago.

“It’s surprising that our gut microbes, which we could get from many sources in the environment, have actually been coevolving inside us for such a long time,” says project leader Howard Ochman, an evolutionary biologist at UT Austin to Science.

For deeper understanding in their final experiment, they looked into human microbiome by comparing DNA sequences between people from Connecticut and Malawi. It was found that bacterial strains from Africans diverged from American far about 1.7 million years ago. Moeller beliefs that gut bacteria can also be used to trace human and animal migrations.

The work “represents a significant step in understanding human microbiota coevolutionary history,” says Justin Sonnenburg of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was not involved with the research. “It elegantly shows that gut microbes are passed vertically, between generations over millions of years.” Microbiologist Martin Blaser of New York University in New York City agrees: “The path of transmission was from mom apes to baby apes for hundreds of thousands of generations at least.” – Reported from Science.


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Our future home should be designed with microbes

Why should always that a healthy home should be a happy home? It has to be little dirty. This might sound insane but after reading to the recent research published by Yale University researchers you might give a second thought. The research was published recently in the journal Trends in Microbiology.

Jordan Peccia and Sarah Kwan / Trends in Microbiology (Source: Digital Trends)

Sanitization and health are both in correlation unless microbial communities those have proven to immunize people at younger age and keep them healthier during they get old. In an essay titled Buildings, Beneficial Microbes and Health, Jordan Peccia and Sara E. Kwan who are Yale Chemical and Environmental Engineers considered how to foster positive microbial environment within the buildings we live.

“Americans spend 90 percent of our time in buildings, which are covered with bacteria, fungi, pollen, and viruses,” Peccia told Digital Trends. “Understanding how these microbes negatively and beneficially impact our health seems important to me,” he explained, going on to admit that his interest in microbes and living spaces hits close to home: “As a microbial process engineer, it’s the only research topic I’ve worked on that has interested my mother-in-law.”
Communication with microbial organisms starts the moment a baby born. Even some number of microbes does pass through placenta. Soon we start to communicate different microorganisms in our daily life.

“I like the parallel between living on a farm with animals and living in an urban area and owning a dog,” Peccia said. “Bavarian farmers and the Amish have very low asthma rates, and this has been attributed the early life exposure to microbes that originate from farm animals. Scientists are seeing a similar relationship with dog ownership. A child is less likely to develop allergies if she or he is exposed to a dog in early life. Another study found that symptoms in mice with allergies could be reduced if you gave them dust from a house that contained a dog.”

Currently further research has to be framed about how engineers and architectures can design our home accordingly.

“I believe that the path forward will be to clearly identify which microbes are beneficial and uncover their sources,” he said. “And then use tools like aerosol physics and mathematical models to understand how behaviours such as increasing outdoor ventilation or using different building materials govern human exposure to good and bad microbes.”


Friday, 22 July 2016

Streptococcus camouflage its recognition molecule to evade immune response

Innate immune system able to recognize a certain molecule in a pathogen that leads to trigger inflammatory roles in host.  A series of cascades of signals among immune cells of the body leads to clear the pathogens from our body. Scientists from Institut Pasteur and CRNS with cooperation of University of Massachusetts Medical School discovered that group B Streptococcus degrade of such molecules so that they can take control over inflammatory response of host. This recent findings is published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe on July 13, 2016.

Image: Macrophages infected by group B Streptococcus. The sample was observed using fluorescence microscopy. The actin filaments in the macrophage are shown in green and the bacteria in red. Courtesy:  Institut Pasteur / E. Davenas and P. Trieu-Cuot.

Innate immune system is the first line of defence in our body. It recognizes specific molecules of the bacterium and leading a cascade of information that leads to coordinated response against the invading microbe which can be eliminated. However this recent research have turned the table, with a property of certain class of bacteria avoid this by removing such molecule.

Type I interferons is a type of molecule produced by immune cells to eradicate microbial infection, specifically group B Streptococcus (GBS). This bacterium is well known to cause infection to newborns.

Scientists collaboratively work together to find a new mechanism that enables bacteria to inhibit the action of interferon production. Interferon production and following GBS infection depends upon cell producing two types of molecules released by bacteria: bacterial DNA and cyclic di-AMP. Researchers identified an enzyme at the surface of GBS called CDNP hydrolyzes own cyclic di-AMP and hence interferon does not able to recognize any molecule.

This similar mechanism where a bacterium degrades their own molecule to evade immune response may present in other pathogens too.


Poll: How gut bacteria is related to health?

Image: Pixabay

Recently we created a poll from WTM to find what people think about the relation between gut bacteria and health. There has been a lot of research going on based on the alteration and behavior of gut bacteria and also how it is modulating our health.

This is how people thinking about:

Q) How gut bacteria is related to health?

a) depends on food we eat = 42%
b) impact of antibodies we take = 24%
c) depends on our immune system = 9%
d) host genetic susceptibility = 21%
e) others = 3%

Send in your thoughts and post your comments below.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Find the link between your gut microbes and personality

A new taking part programme by µBiome which will let you receive a free gut microbiome test kit! 

The programme is restricted to participants who are over 18years of age.

The bacteria in our body are so huge that it outnumbers our total body cells and weighs of almost same as our brain. Among these groups of microbes most of them inhabit in our gut and they are termed as ‘gut microbiome’. The gut neurones form a complex network of over 100 million of them. The vagus nerve connects the gut and the brain is thought to play role in difference personality like a communication between gut microbe and the brain.

Gut bacteria also plays role directly by regulating certain number of neurotransmitters like dopamine, GABA and serotonin that all affects our mood or behaviour.

Please find more about this study at µBiome and get the code for your test.

Source: µBiome

Monday, 18 July 2016

Biting nails can let you beat allergies

Image: Pixabay

Most kids love to put their thumb inside mouth or even bite nails. They keep on doing despite warnings not to as a sense of unhygienic habit according to parents and can affect health according to doctors. But a newly published study in the journal of Pediatrics may let you think twice, as the researchers from New Zealand and Canada reported that children who suck thumbs or bite nails are less allergic in a variety of things than the children who don’t.

The research was conducted on an account of 1000people from birth until age of 32years by testing them periodically for allergies by skin-prick test. Testing positive indicates that they are allergic, but it does not mean that the person have severe reactions to allergens.

The result shown that people who did not suck their thumb or bite their nails anytime were 50percent positive for allergies at 32years. But children who had at least have once or twice habits were 40percent less positive adults. Those children who tend to both sucking thumb and biting their nails were recorded with lowest rates of 31percent less allergic to allergens.

The findings do support that early expose to bacteria, viruses or any allergens can let immune system to be stronger and helps in later counteracting microbial threats.

Researchers in their conclusion - The data does not suggest that sucking thumb or biting nails are a good way to prevent allergies. “What we are saying is don’t be quite so afraid of a little bit of dirt,” says Dr. Malcolm Sears, a respirologist at McMaster University and one of the co-authors of the study. “We’re not sure what it is in dirt, whether it’s microbes or some other substance, that actually protects us. We’re not quite there yet.” In the meantime, being a little less clean might not be such a bad thing for our health.

Source: Time (Health)

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Ecosystem restoration by donor soil microbes to arable field

Image: Pixabay

A new research identified new microbes that can restore soil of degraded farmland. The research was carried by Netherlands Institute of Ecology Wageningen have shown. The results were accumulated based on six months study that published in the journal Nature Plants, that have shown great promise of ecosystem repair in former arable fields by removing the thick top soil layer and replaced with microbe rich donor soil.

“Of course, seeds of plants were also present in the donor soil,” study coauthor Jasper Wubs of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology told reporters during a press briefing. “But our study shows that it is in fact the soil organisms—such as the bacteria, fungi, and roundworms—which determine the direction of ecosystem restoration.”

The research was planted on 160-hectre field in Reijerscamp, Netherlands where the land was farmed for nearly 60years. In the control plots, researchers does not treated the land and kept it as it was. In the experimental plots, they removed the existing barren topsoil by upto 50cm and replaced with 1cm thick donor grassland soil. The results shown the soil was improving and that too faster.

Scientists reported that the donor soil contain microbial community that drove off the earlier communities leading to soil restoration and healthier. “This is similar to the use of fecal transplants to restore disrupted gut microbiomes in humans,” said Wubs.

Source: The Scientist

Friday, 15 July 2016

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Chronic fatigue syndrome is associated with altered gut bacteria

Image: Pixbay

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by extreme fatigue which does not heal with rest. In addition there are symptoms like headache, join pains, tender lymph nodes in neck and/or armpits, severe exhaustion and others. It has been long that researchers are searching the cause behind this until the recent research published in the journal Microbiome by group of researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

In their research they analyzed stool and blood samples from 48 people who were confirmed with CFS and the results were compared with 39 healthy controls. On comparison, the CFS patients shown lessen bacterial diversity, fewer bacteria with anti-inflammatory response and more pro-inflammatory bacteria. The team notes that such is often seen in patients suffering from Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

In blood samples of CFS patients researchers found markers for inflammation. This suggests that bacteria may come in contact with blood due to leaky gut and hence triggered intestinal problems.

Researches in support of this obtained information they could correctly diagnose CFS in 83 percent patients. "In the future, we could see this technique as a complement to other noninvasive diagnoses, but if we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes and patients, maybe clinicians could consider changing diets, using prebiotics such as dietary fibers or probiotics to help treat the disease," explains first author Ludovic Giloteaux, of the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell.

In future, researchers claim that they are still investigating the connection between the altered gut bacteria and the cause of CFS.


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Scientists call for action: Microbes can cause Alzheimer's disease

Senior scientists around the globe came together to provide an editorial which indicates that certain microbes (including a virus and two types of bacteria) are major causative agents for Alzheimer’s disease. The paper was published recently in the journal, Journal of Alzheimer’s disease stressed an urgent need of further research.

This is a major call for action is based on the considerable research published evidences on Alzheimer’s. This editorial has marked his significance with bountiful data suggesting that some microbes can lead to Alzheimers but until now it was dismissed or rather ignored as controversial. For the same reason, proposals for funding for clinical trials have been refused despite the fact that over 400 unsuccessful clinical trials for Alzheimers for over 10years.

“We are saying there is incontrovertible evidence that Alzheimer’s Disease has a dormant microbial component, and that this can be woken up by iron dysregulation. Removing this iron will slow down or prevent cognitive degeneration – we can’t keep ignoring all of the evidence,” Professor Douglas Kell said.

Professor Resia Pretorius of the University of Pretoria, who worked with Douglas Kell on the editorial, said “The microbial presence in blood may also play a fundamental role as causative agent of systemic inflammation, which is a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease – particularly, the bacterial cell wall component and endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that this can cause neuroinflammation and amyloid-β plaque formation.”


Microbes or Nitrogen? Plant finds either ways to use carbon dioxide for growth

Plants grow faster when there is greater availability of carbon dioxide (CO2) but this is only possible if they have enough nitrogen or partner with fungi to accumulate them. This recent research was published in the journal Science.

The research was led by César Terrer Moreno, PhD student at Imperial College London along with researchers from Northern Arizona University, the University of Antwerp, Indiana University and New South Wales University.

In their research they have carried out about 80 experiments to find higher CO2 enhanced plant growth but as long as it received enough nitrogen. In the absence of nitrogen CO2 had no effect. This lead to the confirmation that nitrogen has the ability to control the plant growth associated with CO2. But this also holds an additional exception: some plants which grow in mutuality with soil fungi able to respond better just like with the availability of nitrogen.

"Nitrogen and mycorrhizae are like the X-factors in plant responses to CO2," said Bruce Hungate, Director of NAU's Center for Ecosystem Science and Society and Regents' Professor of Biological Sciences, who was a co-author on the study. "Rising CO2 is not a universal fertilizer, but neither is nitrogen limitation a universal restriction on the CO2 response. The truth is in the middle, and microbes are the key mediators," Hungate said.

In mutuality relation between mycorrhizal fungi and plant both shares nutrients which help each other to grow. But this is not always the case for all mycorrhizal fungi. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are specialized in taking up phosphorous from the soil instead of nitrogen and the plants associated with these mycorrhizal fungi were not able to grow in response to CO2 unless extra nitrogen is added. It was the plants which associates with these partnerships respond to extra carbon dioxide without any added nitrogen fertilizers, because fungi able to produce enzymes that helps to liberate nitrogen from organic sources in soil and then take up the nitrogen to pass to plants.

The new synthesis offers a clear answer: "Plants need nitrogen to respond to high CO2, whether they find it readily available in the soil, or whether their mycorrhizal partners can help them get it," explained Hungate.

Source: Phys dot org

Monday, 11 July 2016

Canada on H5N2 avian flu low risk alert

Image: Pixbay

Canada has been reported with low pathogenic H5N2 avial flu on a commercial duck farm and it possess little risk to humans. The report is being released by Canadian Food Inspection Agency on 8th July 2016.

Chief CFIA veterinary officer Harpreet Kochhar said all 14,000 birds on the farm near the town of St Catharines in the province of Ontario would be humanely killed and disposed of. The farm is under quarantine. "Avian influenza does not pose a risk to food safety when poultry and poultry products are properly handled and cooked and rarely affects humans," he said.

CFIA teams are on high scrutiny on the movement of birds in and out of the property.

"As avian influenza is highly contagious among birds, and can spread rapidly, it is possible that additional at-risk farms may be identified in the coming days," said Kochhar.

Source: CNBC

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