100 episodes

The podcast for microbe lovers: reporting on exciting news about bacteria, archaea, and sometimes even eukaryotic microbes and viruses.

BacterioFiles Jesse Noar

    • Science
    • 4.4 • 20 Ratings

The podcast for microbe lovers: reporting on exciting news about bacteria, archaea, and sometimes even eukaryotic microbes and viruses.

    Less Liquid Lands Losing Lichens

    Less Liquid Lands Losing Lichens

    This episode: Trends of declining lichen populations and biocrust cover overall match trends of increasing temperatures in Colorado dryland!
    Download Episode (6.4 MB, 9.3 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Cherry chlorotic rusty spot associated partitivirus

    Takeaways:


    Global climate change is affecting almost every natural system on the planet, in predictable and also sometimes unexpected, complex ways. Microbes perform key roles in many different ecosystems, providing and recycling important nutrients and even macroscopic structure. One example of this is biocrusts in dryland environments, such as areas in the western US with low annual rainfall. Microbes other organisms form a stable surface binding soil and sand particles together, helping to retain moisture and prevent erosion and transformation of land into desert.

    In this study of a Colorado park over more than 20 years, important species of symbiotic fungi and photosynthetic microbes in the form of lichens have declined significantly. The land is mostly untroubled by grazing or human activity, but changes in climate and moisture and the presence of invasive plants could affect lichens. However, the temperature increase over the decades showed the best correlation with the lichen decline. The loss of these species could lead to nutrient shortages in the long term for these communities.

    Journal Paper:

    Finger-Higgens R, Duniway MC, Fick S, Geiger EL, Hoover DL, Pfennigwerth AA, Van Scoyoc MW, Belnap J. 2022. Decline in biological soil crust N-fixing lichens linked to increasing summertime temperatures. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 119:e2120975119.
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 9 min
    Parasitoid Pox Partners

    Parasitoid Pox Partners

    This episode: A virus partners with a parasitoid wasp to help exploit fruit fly victims!
    Download Episode (7.7 MB, 11.2 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Actinomadura livida
    Takeaways
    Parasitoid wasps have an interesting lifestyle: they inject their eggs into the larvae of other insects, and their young hatch and grow up by consuming the host from the inside. Some of these wasps also inject a virus along with the egg, which supports the wasp offspring by suppressing the host immune system.

    Most of these parasitoid helper viruses are integrated into the host wasp genome and are translated and produced as needed, but in this study, an independently replicating entomopoxvirus serves as an example of a virus-wasp mutualism. The study explores how the virus can infect the wasp prey, and how it gets passed on to wasp offspring.

    Journal Paper:
    Coffman KA, Hankinson QM, Burke GR. 2022. A viral mutualist employs posthatch transmission for vertical and horizontal spread among parasitoid wasps. Proc Natl Acad Sci 119:e2120048119.
     
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 11 min
    Soil Smell Synthesis Significance

    Soil Smell Synthesis Significance

    This episode: Many organisms produce the smell of earth, geosmin, and many others can sense it–but why?
    Download Episode (6.0 MB, 8.7 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Acidianus spindle-shaped virus 1
     
    News item
     

    Takeaways
    The smell of soil or earth is one of the most recognizable smells, and comes largely from a chemical called geosmin, produced by many different kinds of bacteria. Many animal species are sensitive to geosmin, some attracted by it and others repelled. But it is still not entirely understood what is the evolutionary benefit to the microbes that produce it, or the reason why different animals are sensitive to it in different ways.

    In this study, different geosmin-producing bacteria were paired with tiny bacteria-eating roundworms, nematodes, to see how the chemical affected their interactions. Production of geosmin affected the worms' movement, apparently inducing them to avoid colonies of the producing microbes in some cases, though the worms still sometimes fed on the bacteria. Adding geosmin to colonies of different bacteria did not affect the worms' behavior though, so other factors seem to be involved.


    Journal Paper:

    Zaroubi L, Ozugergin I, Mastronardi K, Imfeld A, Law C, Gélinas Y, Piekny A, Findlay BL. 2022. The Ubiquitous Soil Terpene Geosmin Acts as a Warning Chemical. Appl Environ Microbiol 88:e00093-22.
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 8 min
    Social Slimes Synchronize Sorties

    Social Slimes Synchronize Sorties

    This episode: Slime mold amoebas Fonticula alba have interesting and unique foraging and reproductive behaviors!
    Download Episode (7.3 MB, 10.6 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Cajanus cajan Panzee virus
    News item
     

    Takeaways
    How did life develop from single-celled organisms acting independently into the complex, multicellular organisms we see and are today? Although it is difficult to look back through time to study how ancient organisms may have developed along this path, it is possible to investigate modern organisms that occupy a zone in between single-celled and multicellular, to see if we can get some hints to our own development, and also learn about some interesting microbes along the way!

    This study into the social amoeba, or slime mold, Fonticula alba, finds that the individual amoebal cells in a population join together into collectives and break apart into individuals at different stages of their complex life cycle, depending on the status of the bacteria around them that they forage as prey. The investigators tease out the various pathways taken by these amoebas.
     
    Journal Paper:
    Toret C, Picco A, Boiero-Sanders M, Michelot A, Kaksonen M. 2022. The cellular slime mold Fonticula alba forms a dynamic, multicellular collective while feeding on bacteria. Curr Biol 32:1961-1973.e4.
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 10 min
    Probiotic Pulverizes Pathogen Persisters

    Probiotic Pulverizes Pathogen Persisters

    This episode: A probiotic strain of E. coli can target and destroy pathogens that survive a treatment of antibiotics!
    Download Episode (8.2 MB, 12 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces griseoruber
     
    Takeaways
    Antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more of a problem as bacterial pathogens develop resistance to more and more drugs. For some people who develop an infection that is resistant to everything, it's as if they were living back in the days before antibiotics were discovered, when all they could do was pray for survival. New antibiotics are needed, but even more needed are new ways of approaching treatment of infections, using innovative approaches and combinations of therapeutics.

    In this study, a probiotic strain of Escherichia coli was used to target potentially pathogenic E. coli bacteria that can survive treatment with a particularly effective type of antibiotic, fluoroquinolones. This probiotic strain, called Nissle, delivers toxins directly to the survivors, preventing resistant pathogens from proliferating.


     
    Journal Paper:
    Hare PJ, Englander HE, Mok WWK. 2022. Probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 inhibits bacterial persisters that survive fluoroquinolone treatment. J Appl Microbiol 132:4020–4032.
     
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 11 min
    Biohybrid Bacteria Build Biomass

    Biohybrid Bacteria Build Biomass

    This episode: Incorporating light-absorbing molecules into bacterial membranes can allow bacteria to use solar energy to transform nitrogen gas into fertilizer!
    Download Episode (6.5 MB, 9.9 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Wheat dwarf virus
     
    Takeaways
    Turning nitrogen gas into biologically useful compounds, such as protein or ammonia for fertilizer, is an essential part of the global nitrogen cycle and therefore, for agriculture. Today much fertilizer is produced from nitrogen gas by a chemical process that requires large amounts of energy, contributing to global warming. But certain bacteria can perform the same process using special enzymes much more efficiently.

    In this study, a light-absorbing molecule was inserted into the cell membrane of some of these bacteria, allowing them to use light energy directly to power the nitrogen converting enzymes. These "biohybrids" were able to produce convert significantly more nitrogen gas and produce additional bacterial biomass from it, showing promise for using such an approach for more sustainable microbial fertilizer production.
     
    Journal Paper:
    Chen Z, Quek G, Zhu J, Chan SJW, Cox‐Vázquez SJ, Lopez‐Garcia F, Bazan GC. 2023. A Broad Light‐Harvesting Conjugated Oligoelectrolyte Enables Photocatalytic Nitrogen Fixation in a Bacterial Biohybrid. Angew Chem Int Ed 62:e202307101.
     
    Other interesting stories:
    Update on using mosquito bacteria to block mosquito-borne viruses
     
    Email questions or comments to bacteriofiles at gmail dot 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.

    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

~L ,

Interesting topics

This podcast discusses some interesting topics in Microbiology. The production needs a little work, but if you are interested or are studying in Micro this podcast is a good start.

pat from Oak Park Il ,

Such A Helpful Podcast!

Later in my life I fell in love with microbiology. This podcast has enriched my understanding and deepened my fascination. I would like nothing more than to meet Dr. Nour shake his hand and tell him “Thank you, Thank you”.

mkcheshire ,

Nice summaries

I really like how Jesse presents articles in an easy to understand style.
Mike in Oregon

Top Podcasts In Science

Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam
Something You Should Know
Mike Carruthers | OmniCast Media | Cumulus Podcast Network
Ologies with Alie Ward
Alie Ward
Radiolab
WNYC Studios
StarTalk Radio
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Making Sense with Sam Harris
Sam Harris

You Might Also Like

Meet the Microbiologist
Ashley Hagen, M.S.
This Week in Microbiology
Vincent Racaniello
Matters Microbial
Mark O. Martin
This Week in Parasitism
Vincent Racaniello
Immune
Vincent Racaniello
Infectious Disease Puscast
Vincent Racaniello

More by American Society for Microbiology

This Week in Virology
Vincent Racaniello
This Week in Microbiology
Vincent Racaniello
This Week in Parasitism
Vincent Racaniello
Meet the Microbiologist
Ashley Hagen, M.S.
Editors in Conversation
American Society for Microbiology
MicrobeWorld Video
American Society for Microbiology