This Week In Biofilms And Microbiomes: Monday October 5, 2015

A round-up of what we read last week in the media's coverage of biofilms and microbiomes research.

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Chemical Engineering News has gone all-out on microbiomes this week, with its cover story ‘Harnessing The Hoardes In The Microbiome’. The article points out that more than 60 companies are publically working on microbiome-related projects (“with many more under the radar”), and features insights from some of their representatives, including from Second Genome, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Microbiome Institute, Seres Therapeutics and Vedanta Biosciences. It’s an interesting round-up of some of the progress made in this field since the 2008 launch of the National Institute of Health’s Human Microbiome Project.

Magazine for the professional skincare industry, Skin Inc. picked up on a paper recently published by mBio entitled ‘The Human Skin Microbiome Associates with the Outcome of and Is Influenced by Bacterial Infection’. Skin Inc. gives a useful overview of the paper and seeks insight into its findings from researchers also active in this area, including Heidi Kong, who studies the skin microbiome at the dermatology branch of the Center for Cancer Research in Bethesda, Maryland, US. She said of the study: “It is uncommon to perform inoculation studies in research volunteers with bacteria that can cause infections, but studies like this one could provide valuable insights into the pathogenesis of diseases.”

We see more evidence of how research into microbiomes has captured the public’s imagination with this piece from WIRED on a research article published in Science entitled ‘Early infancy microbial and metabolic alterations affect risk of childhood asthma’. The paper explores a connection between low levels of Faecalibacterium, Lachnospira, Veillonella and Rothia bacteria (or FLVR) in the early months of life and risk of developing asthma later in life.

A paper ‘Electrochemically monitoring the antibiotic susceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms’ from Royal Society of Chemistry journal Analyst and featured on the RSC’s website Chemistry Today shows how a team at Northwestern University, Boston, US have designed “a simple and inexpensive electrochemical device that monitors bacteria metabolites to gauge the effect of antibiotics”, as part of the fight to understand and overcome antibiotic resistance.

What have you been reading this week? Comment or create your own post or video to let us know.

Jen Thoroughgood

Former Head of Communities, Springer Nature

I'm no longer with Springer Nature so please send your community-related queries to Thanks!