491: Less Liquid Lands Losing Lichens
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
1M ago
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 e ..read more
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490: Parasitoid Pox Partners
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
4M ago
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 ..read more
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489: Soil Smell Synthesis Significance
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
5M ago
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 prod ..read more
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488: Social Slimes Synchronize Sorties
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
7M ago
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 mult ..read more
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486: Biohybrid Bacteria Build Biomass
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
9M ago
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 warmin ..read more
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485: Small Cell Sculpts Sticky Snot Sphere
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
9M ago
This episode: A marine protist predator traps prey microbes in an attractive bubble of mucus, eats what it wants, and lets the rest sink, possibly sequestering significant amounts of carbon! Download Episode (7.8 MB, 11.4 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Bat associated cyclovirus 1 News item Takeaways The oceans have a lot of unique, unexplored life in them. This is true on a macro level but even more on a microscopic level, with many different kinds of microbes of various groups with fascinating life strategies. And despite being microscopic, with enough of them around, they ..read more
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484: Bacteriophages Boost Brains
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
10M ago
This episode: Certain phages in the gut are linked with increases in performance on some cognitive tests! Download Episode (7.5 MB, 10.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Streptomyces bikiniensis News item Takeaways Our gut microbiota includes a large number of viruses, mostly bacteriophages. These fall into two groups, the lytic kind that infects and reproduces itself immediately in a host, and the lysogenic kind that can integrate its genome into the host bacterial genome and remain dormant for long periods. In this study, a higher proportion of lysogenic phages was correlate ..read more
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483: Recycling Resources Raises Robustness
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
10M ago
This episode: Adding tags to proteins to increase their degradation can help engineered bacteria grow and survive better under various conditions! Download Episode (7.3 MB, 10.4 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Lactococcus virus sk1 News item Takeaways Engineering bacteria with new genetic pathways allows us to use them in many new and promising applications. Some of these are industrial fermentations, growing large quantities of bacteria to use as catalysts for production of chemicals of interest, such as biofuels. But in other cases, engineered microbes can be most useful in ..read more
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482: Colony Concentric Clock Construction
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
11M ago
This episode: Single-celled bacteria can act independently to create patterns and structure in their biofilm communities! Download Episode (9.6 MB, 14.0 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Dictyostelium discoideum Skipper virus News item Takeaways Large multicellular organisms like us have interesting mechanisms for using one set of genetic instructions present in all cells to form a large, complex community of many different types of cells with different structures and functions, all working together. Single-celled microbes do not have the same requirements for genetic or struct ..read more
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481: Hijacker-Host Sequence Swap
BacterioFiles
by Jesse Noar
11M ago
This episode: Gene transfers between viruses and eukaryotes have happened many times throughout evolutionary history! Download Episode (7.5 MB, 10.9 minutes) Show notes: Microbe of the episode: Mycoplasma subdolum News item Takeaways As we’ve all seen recently, viruses can cause a lot of trouble. Their biology requires them to be parasites inside the cells of their hosts, and they can cause devastating disease, so it’s hard to think of them as having played important roles in the development of life on Earth, including our own evolution. However, this study found thousands of apparent his ..read more
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