by

Our early life microbiome may be more resilient than once believed

"We are inhabited by as many as ten thousand bacterial species... Together, they are referred to as our microbiome -- and they play such a crucial role in our lives that scientists like Blaser have begun to reconsider what it means to be human.” ― Michael Specter

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Boston Bacterial Meeting where Martin Blaser gave the keynote address. Dr. Blaser, a physician and a microbiologist, studies the complex and often puzzling interactions between our bodies and our microbiome (the collection of microbes living on or in our bodies). (more…)

by

Yeast on the Rise

Hooray, it's finally (Foodie) Friday!

Since the last Foodie Friday post on sourdough microbes a couple weeks ago, I have been thinking about making my own bread again.

Because I am not taking care of a sourdough starter currently, I made a loaf of bread using Baker's yeast, or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. S. cerevisiae is commonly used as a fermentation agent in bread making and the production of carbon dioxide gas during metabolism by yeast contribute to the leavening and flavor and texture of bread. (more…)

by

Plasmid mediated colistin resistance found in the U.S.

"When antibiotics first came out, nobody could have imagined we’d have the resistance problem we face today. We didn’t give bacteria credit for being able to change and adapt so fast." -Bonnie Bassler

Antibiotic resistant superbugs have dominated health-related news recently, warning of an impending post-antibiotic apocalypse where current antibiotics are no longer effective. Though it is true that antimicrobial resistance is increasing quickly and the effectiveness of many antibiotics is dwindling, much of what has been reported recently about a colistin resistant bacteria isolated in the U.S. may not be completely true. (more…)

by

Sourdough, an incubator for microbial symbiosis

"Blues is to jazz what yeast is to bread. Without it, it's flat." - Carmen McRae, jazz musician

History of sourdough

Sourdough bread and other fermented foods have been around for centuries. The oldest leavened bread was excavated in Switzerland, dating from 3500 BCE. However, the oldest evidence of leavening was recorded by the Egyptians possibly when flatbread dough was left out and colonized by wild yeasts and bacteria. Throughout most of human history, sourdough was the source of leavening and the use of baker's yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) did not occur until the 19th century. For more detail about this history of sourdough, visit The Sourdough School. (more…)

by

Metropolitan Microbes: Microbiomes of Indoor Environments

In recent years, the human microbiome has gotten a lot of press. We have read about how our gut microbes affect our eating habits, immune system and mind. But what about the microbes that surround us indoors? We spend most of our time indoors, at home, in our cars, in offices and other buildings. We interact with these "built environments" (BE) extensively, leaving microbes from our skin on the surfaces we touch and also acquiring microbes that are already present on these surfaces. Airborne microbes from the outdoors or from humans also accumulate on these surfaces and travel throughout our indoor spaces. In a recent paper from the Caporaso lab, the individual factors that affect the microbiome of BEs were explored. (more…)