100 episodes

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

BacterioFile‪s‬ American Society for Microbiology

    • Life Sciences
    • 4.4 • 17 Ratings

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

    Big Bacteria Bank Behaviors

    Big Bacteria Bank Behaviors

    This episode: Giant bacteria with many chromosomes in each cell carry extra genes to help them live in many different environments!
    Download Episode (8.7 MB, 12.7 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Propionibacterium virus SKKY

    News item
     
    Takeaways
    We think of bacteria a certain way: too small to see and having mostly just a single large chromosome with all the genes they need for their lifestyle and not much more. And most bacteria are like that. But not all! Giant bacteria exist, some of which can be so large that individual cells can be seen without a microscope.
     
    Achromatium species are one such kind of bacteria. They form clumps of minerals that take up most of their internal volume, but their cells are big enough to see and handle. In order to supply all parts of their vast innards with proteins, they have many copies of their chromosome distributed throughout their cytoplasm.
     
    In this study, a survey of Achromatium genomes from all different kinds of ecosystem revealed that even different species in very different environments all seem to share one set of genetic functions, but only use the ones they need for their particular lifestyle while archiving the rest.

     
    Journal Paper:
    Ionescu D, Zoccarato L, Zaduryan A, Schorn S, Bizic M, Pinnow S, Cypionka H, Grossart H-P. Heterozygous, Polyploid, Giant Bacterium, Achromatium, Possesses an Identical Functional Inventory Worldwide across Drastically Different Ecosystems. Mol Biol Evol https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa273.
    Other interesting stories:
    As with other infections, gut microbiota correlates with severity of COVID-19 Fungi help plants defend against aphids
     
    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.

    • 12 min
    Biofilm Benefits Bone Braces

    Biofilm Benefits Bone Braces

    This episode: The biofilm that probiotic bacteria can leave behind on a titanium implant seems to help it integrate better with the existing skeleton, with less inflammation and risk of infection!
    Download Episode (5.5 MB, 7.9 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Methylobacterium organophilum

    News item
     
    Takeaways
    Skeletal implants make it a lot easier for many people to stay mobile as they age, but the surgical procedure of implanting is risky. Its invasive nature puts stress on the immune system, which puts stress on other systems, and the spread of antibiotic resistance is increasing the risk of a hard-to-treat infection.
     
    In this study, probiotic bacteria grow in a biofilm on titanium implants before being inactivated, leaving only the biofilm behind on the implant. This biofilm-coated implant showed improved bone integration, antimicrobial resistance that was not toxic to the body's own tissues, and reduced inflammation when implanted into rats.

     
    Journal Paper:
    Tan L, Fu J, Feng F, Liu X, Cui Z, Li B, Han Y, Zheng Y, Yeung KWK, Li Z, Zhu S, Liang Y, Feng X, Wang X, Wu S. 2020. Engineered probiotics biofilm enhances osseointegration via immunoregulation and anti-infection. Sci Adv 6:eaba5723.
    Other interesting stories:
    Certain gut microbes correlate with lower risk from norovirus (paper) Mixture of microbes similar to kombucha engineered to produce living functional materials
     
    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.

    • 7 min
    Living Lurking Landmine Locators

    Living Lurking Landmine Locators

    This episode: Engineered bacteria encapsulated in little beads sense chemicals from landmines and give off light!
    Download Episode (6.4 MB, 9.3 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Bifidobacterium pullorum

    Takeaways
    Landmines are a good way to take an enemy by surprise and do some damage. They're so good that some places in the world still aren't safe to go decades after a conflict, due to intact landmines hidden in the area. In order to detect them from a distance to aid in disarming efforts, we need something very good at detecting the faint odor they give off—something like bacteria!
     
    In this study, bacteria are engineered to detect breakdown products of TNT in landmines and produce light—bioluminescence. These bacteria are encapsulated in polymer beads and are stable for months in the freezer, and could accurately pinpoint a landmine buried in sand for a year and a half.

     
    Journal Paper:
    Shemer B, Shpigel E, Hazan C, Kabessa Y, Agranat AJ, Belkin S. Detection of buried explosives with immobilized bacterial bioreporters. Microb Biotechnol https://doi.org/10.1111/1751-7915.13683.
    Other interesting stories:
    Wastewater treatment plant could power itself from electricity produced by microbes Microbial exposures correlate with presence or lack of allergies in both people and their dogs
     
    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
    Strange Sequence Stops Cell Subjugation

    Strange Sequence Stops Cell Subjugation

    This episode: An interesting bacterial genetic element protects against viruses in a unique way!
    Download Episode (7.1 MB, 10.3 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Mongoose associated gemykibivirus 1
    News item

    Takeaways
    Even single-celled, microscopic organisms such as bacteria have to deal with deadly viruses infecting them. And while they don't have an immune system with antibodies and macrophages like we do, they still have defenses against infection, mostly based on sensing and destroying viral genomes. Restriction enzymes cut viral genomes at specific places, and CRISPR/Cas targets and destroys specific viral sequences. Knowing this, when microbiologists contemplate a strange genetic element of unknown function in bacteria, it's worth considering that it may be relevant to defense against phages.
     
    The strange element in this case is retrons: a special reverse transcriptase enzyme takes a short non-coding RNA transcript and transcribes it into DNA, then links the RNA and DNA sequences together. These retrons are found in a variety of forms in a variety of microbes, and their function has been unknown up till now. In this study, one specific retron was found to defend bacteria against a number of phages. By comparing viruses, they discovered that this retron functions by sensing viruses' attempts to defeat another bacterial defense, a sort of second level of defenses. How common such a system is, what variants may exist, and how we may be able to use it for research or biotech purposes remain to be determined.

     
    Journal Paper:
    >Millman A, Bernheim A, Stokar-Avihail A, Fedorenko T, Voichek M, Leavitt A, Oppenheimer-Shaanan Y, Sorek R. 2020. Bacterial Retrons Function In Anti-Phage Defense. Cell 183:1551-1561.e12.
    Other interesting stories:
    Bacteria can make biodegradable plastics from waste sludge
     
    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
    Gut Group Gives Gamma Guard

    Gut Group Gives Gamma Guard

    This episode: Certain gut microbes protect mice from harmful effects of high-energy radiation!
    Download Episode (7.3 MB, 10.6 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Solenopsis invicta virus-1
    News item

    Takeaways
    High-energy radiation can be very dangerous. Besides a long-term increased risk of cancer due to DNA damage, a high enough dose of radiation can cause lethal damage to multiple systems in the body, especially the gastrointestinal tract and the immune system. Finding new ways to treat or prevent damage from radiation would be very helpful for improving the safety of space travel, nuclear energy, and radiotherapy for cancer.
     
    In this study, some mice exposed to a typically lethal dose of radiation survived without ill effects, thanks to certain microbes in their gut. Transferring these microbes to other mice helped those mice survive radiation as well, and even just the metabolites that the bacteria produced were helpful for protecting the cells in the body most affected by radiation.

     
    Journal Paper:
    Guo H, Chou W-C, Lai Y, Liang K, Tam JW, Brickey WJ, Chen L, Montgomery ND, Li X, Bohannon LM, Sung AD, Chao NJ, Peled JU, Gomes ALC, van den Brink MRM, French MJ, Macintyre AN, Sempowski GD, Tan X, Sartor RB, Lu K, Ting JPY. 2020. Multi-omics analyses of radiation survivors identify radioprotective microbes and metabolites. Science 370:eaay9097.
    Other interesting stories:
    Algae incorporated into 3D-printed human tissues for research can provide oxygen for cells Bacteria in sea squirts produce potentially useful antifungal compound
     
    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
    Fossil Phototroph Phagocytosis

    Fossil Phototroph Phagocytosis

    This episode: Algae surviving impact that killed the dinosaurs seem to have consumed other organisms to make it through the dark times!
    Download Episode (7.1 MB, 10.3 minutes)

    Show notes:
    Microbe of the episode: Chaetoceros tenuissimus RNA virus 01
    News item

    Takeaways
    Being able to look through time and learn about what might have happened to creatures throughout Earth's history is what makes paleontology great. Everyone knows about dinosaurs and what happened to them at the end of the Cretaceous period thanks to science. But what we can learn is not limited just to large organisms; there are ways to learn about microorganisms of the past as well, including by looking at fossils!
     
    In this study, fossils of hard-shelled algae from around the end of the dinosaurs show that many of these microbes in the oceans went extinct at the same time due to the massive space impact. Debris blocked out sunlight for years, making it difficult for photosynthetic organisms to survive. So some of these algae appear to have survived by preying on smaller organisms, pulling them in through a hole in their shell.

     
    Journal Paper:
    Gibbs SJ, Bown PR, Ward BA, Alvarez SA, Kim H, Archontikis OA, Sauterey B, Poulton AJ, Wilson J, Ridgwell A. 2020. Algal plankton turn to hunting to survive and recover from end-Cretaceous impact darkness. Sci Adv 6:eabc9123.
    Other interesting stories:
    Phages could help treat diabetic wound infections without harming microbiota (paper)
     
    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

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
17 Ratings

17 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

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