Microbial Effects on Asthma

Two reviews came out recently by Mutius et al and Smits et al discussing the link between microbes and asthma. Sadly, they are not open access. Both reviews suggest that exposure to microbially rich environments helps build the immune response and inflammation systems. The Mutius et al paper drew from research conducted on urban environmental microbiology using DNA fingerprinting to characterize indoor …

CDC and UN Still Not Being Held Accountable for Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

A recent Slate article by Jonathan Katz talks about a map that is displayed at the CDC – as well as the heavy implications of this map. Despite genomic evidence that the UN peacekeepers were the source of cholera in earthquake-devastated Haiti, the CDC and the UN continue to avoid accountability. UN peacekeepers from Nepal failed to set up …

Tracking Superbug Infections

I just read an interesting article where superbug infections were tracked across Europe. Isolates had their whole genome sequenced and then the resulting visualizations were put online for people to see (you can also upload your own data to the site). Not only is this a really useful tool in terms of observing the spread of superbugs, …

Review on Techniques for Protecting Cultural Heritage Materials from Microbes

Many cultural heritage materials, like statues and scriptures, are lost to microbial degradation. For these important relics of the past to continue to stand the test of time, it is important to be able to effectively test and identify microbes that will harm these materials. This 2016 review from Sanmartín et al aims to evaluate traditional …

Antibacterial Soaps Still Terrible

This article by Beth Mole is a fairly detailed summary of recent research on the effects of antimicrobial soaps. As we have mentioned before on microBEnet, antimicrobials increase resistance in the environment, wildlife, and people. In addition, the soaps are often not used for long enough to confer a benefit. The article particularly focuses on triclosan and triclocarban, …

Probiotics for Livestock – Reducing Antibiotic Reliance

In the wake of the Obama administration’s plan to decrease antibiotic usage in livestock, farmers are now trying to find alternatives that have fewer ecological and human health impacts. In an effort to reduce reliance on antibiotics, researchers at Iowa State University are testing if Lactobacillus species found in yogurt might have a similar health effect on livestock as …

Microbiome Art by Joana Ricou

We’ve written about Joana Ricou before on this blog, and here she is again. This time with an exhibit featuring oil paintings representing human bodies and their microbiomes. The linked article also includes a video of Ricou discussing her work, which has been featured on the cover of a scientific journal and strives to combine science and art in …