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Links 1 through 10 of 83 by Charlie Schick tagged bacteria

"A life-threatening germ that causes diarrhea and spreads easily from doctors’ offices to hospitals and nursing homes has climbed to historic highs nationally, federal disease trackers warned Tuesday, as they pointed to efforts in Massachusetts that have helped slow the rate of infections here."

More on this nasty bug. It's now getting headlines.

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"Bacteriophage could be an alternative to conventional antibiotic therapy against multidrug-resistant bacteria. However, the emergence of resistant variants after phage treatment limited its therapeutic application. Our data showed that the phage cocktail was more effective in reducing bacterial mutation frequency and in the rescue of murine bacteremia than monophage suggesting that phage cocktail established by SBS method has great therapeutic potential for multidrug-resistant bacteria infection."

Biologic warfare at the bacterial level. In some developed countries antibiotic misuse has caused the rapid development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bacteriophage therapy has therefore taken a more important role. Except, it has its issues. In this paper, they work to avoid phage resistance with a multi-phage approach.

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"Clostridium difficile has emerged rapidly as the leading cause of antibiotic-associated diarrheal disease, with the temporal and geographical appearance of dominant PCR ribotypes. We have undertaken a breadth genotyping study using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) analysis of 385 C. difficile strains from diverse sources by host (human, animal and food), geographical locations (North America, Europe and Australia) and PCR ribotypes. Results identified 18 novel sequence types (STs) and 3 new allele sequences and confirmed the presence of five distinct clonal lineages generally associated with outbreaks of C. difficile infection in humans."

A broad survey to understand the nature of this pesky and increasingly common pathogen.

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"This study demonstrates that the milk-feeding type and the HLA-DQ genotype differently influence the bacterial colonization pattern of the newborn intestine during the first 4 months of life and, therefore, could also influence the risk of developing CD in later life. Breast-feeding reduced the genotype-related differences in microbiota composition, which could partly explain the protective role attributed to breast milk in this disorder."

Interesting study doing two things: 1) showing an effect of genotype on bacterial populations in the gut - and that they are different for those at risk for celiac disease; and, 2) showing a difference between the bacterial populations of breast-fed and formula-fed children, and a possible microbial reason why breast-feeding protects against celiac disease.

Very cool. And scary how it makes such good sense.

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"For decades, Robert Daum has studied the havoc wreaked by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Now he thinks he can stop it for good."

Excellent story of the fight against MRSA by the guy who first made us aware of it.

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"There is a common conceit among we DIYbio enthusiasts, namely to suggest that one could opt to create “glow-in-the-dark yoghurt” using DIYbio-oriented techniques as a nigh trivial matter. Indeed, this conceit led to my recently being queried by twitter and email about the possibility; where are the guides and how-tos, if it is so trivial? While a conceit it may be to suggest that glow-in-the-dark yoghurt would be trivial, that’s not to say it’s at all out of reach to the dedicated biohacker. Here, I will lay out a suggested course of action based on the available literature."

Quite cool.

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"A mouthwash that kills S. mutans and leaves the rest of the bacteria to take over S. mutans‘s real estate could spell the end of cavities. In a small clinical study last year, one team found that one application of the mouthwash knocked down S. mutans levels, and that harmless bacteria grew back in its place. If the mouthwash pans out, it could join the ranks of an emerging new type of treatment: better living through hacking the microbiome."

This is really cool. And this article get extra points for the endnotes on probiotics and fecal transplants.

I totally believe we are entering an age where we are going to manipulate our microbiome for health and medicine.

[via @edyong209]

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"Now, a new study by Eric Martens, David Bolam, and colleagues has looked into how a pair of the most common species of gut bacteria metabolize polysaccharides, showing that each bacterium is highly specialized. Using a high-throughput system for feeding the bacteria dozens of kinds of carbohydrates, one at a time, and tracking the bacteria's gene expression, they were able to see how these microbes have tailored themselves to fill specific niches in the gut."

This is a really good study. For me, a better understanding of the gut metabolic ecology will allow for the development of better probiotics. One interesting finding in this study is that some bug don't grow well on simple sugar because their sensors are built for complex sugars. Made me think of folks in developed world and what effect eating more simple sugars (high-fructose corn syrup) has on gut flora and any consequential obesity.

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"Supplements containing a combination of Lactobacillus salivarius and fructo-oligosaccharide for eight weeks were associated with significant reductions in measures of the severity of eczema, compared with a control group receiving only prebiotics, according to findings published in the British Journal of Dermatology."

In addition to the usual yogurt bugs, I am starting to see salivarius popping up more frequently. It's from the mouth, by the way.

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"A team led by Jay Keasling, a bioengineer at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, California, worked to extend the strategy to make more commonly used fuels. They used Escherichia coli, a bacterium into which it's relatively easy to insert new genes. They started by creating two strains of E. coli, inserting genes for breaking down cellulose in one and genes for breaking down hemicellulose in the other. They then split each of these two strains into three groups and to each group added genes for one of three different metabolic pathways that allow the microbes to make chemical precursors for either gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel."

Nice step towards making this happen.

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