In this issue


Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 3

Vertical Transmission, September 2012

Welcome to this issue of Microbiology Australia, one that deals with the positive side of microbes and our interactions with them – from those that we utilise in biotechnology to those that have co-evolved with their hosts in a mutually beneficial way. Ipek Kurtböke and Ian Macreadie have brought together an exceptional group of contributors who have provided a broad and fascinating insight into these “good microbes”.

PDF file Download Article

Microorganisms: Their benefits and beyond

Most microorganisms may be associated with disease and destruction for outsiders but for us microbiologists not all microorganisms are considered “Bad Guys” and their beneficial activities by far outnumber their detrimental aspects. In this issue of Microbiology Australia, we target those microorganisms which have served mankind with their beneficial properties either as themselves such as probiotics or through their products such as antibiotics.

PDF file Download Article

Guest commentary: The human microbiome and the promise of clinical ecology

Metagenomics, the application of high-throughput sequencing to nucleic acids extracted directly from environmental samples, made its debut in 2004 through two high-profile papers in Science (Sargasso Sea) and Nature (acid mine drainage). A key strength of the approach is the ability to circumvent the well-known cultivation bottleneck and lay bare the genetic blueprints of ecologically important members of the microbial community, many of which cannot be easily obtained in culture.

PDF file Download Article

Industrial revolution with microorganisms

Mankind has used microbes from the dawn of history to perform services and produce useful chemicals and bioactives. Mixed complex communities, which are resilient over time, preserved food, made alcoholic beverages and treated wastes, all in the absence of an understanding of the underlying biological processes. Moving to single microbial transformation systems led to high-level production of primary (amino acids, nucleotides, vitamins – used as flavour-enhancing agents, nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals – solvents and organic acids, ...

PDF file Download Article

The microbial removal of toxic waste

The rapid growth of the global chemical industry over the last 35 years has meant that there have been both increased amounts and complexity of toxic waste effluents. Global chemical output increased by 63% in the period from 1996 to 20101; this increase has led to an unprecedented release into the environment of a vast array of chemicals. Bioremediation is now a successful environmental biotechnology used for the remediation of these pollutants, having a number of advantages (for example, cost, environmental friendly means of disposal) over an...

PDF file Download Article

Human gut microbiota and future prebiotics

Rapid advances in molecular methods that enable culture-independent analysis of the complex bacterial populations is increasing awareness and understanding of the composition and activity of the microbiota in the human gastrointestinal tract, its role in host health and response to changes in diet and lifestyle. In this article we discuss the shortcomings of the contemporary approach of targeting a few selected bacteria, notably lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, to gauge the status of the gut microbiota for promoting health of the human host.

PDF file Download Article

BLIS-producing probiotics targeting the oral cavity

Consumers seeking health-promoting dietary supplements have long been conditioned to the regular ingestion of yoghurt as a convenient source of living beneficial microbes (viz. probiotics). Conventional probiotics have typically been bacteria of intestinal origin (especially lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) and their application has principally been to provide relief for maladies of the gastrointestinal tract. However, the realisation that much human illness can be linked either directly (dental caries, periodontal disease and candidosis) or in...

PDF file Download Article

Use of bacterial vaccines in the livestock industries

The prophylactic use of antibiotics in animal feed has been a long-held practice in intensive livestock production for maintaining animal health by controlling disease and promoting growth enhancement. However, the continuous use of antibiotics has evoked strong concerns over emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There has been a concerted effort over the years by US, EU and Australian legislative authorities to reduce or eliminate prophylactic use of antibiotics in animal feed. In principle, these efforts are commendable; however, an alt...

PDF file Download Article

From Actinomycin onwards: Actinomycete success stories

The discovery, development and exploitation of antibiotics was one of the most significant advances in medicine in the 20th century. In a golden era lasting from the 1940s to the late 1960s, antibiotic research provided mankind with a wide range of structurally diverse and effective agents for the treatment of microbial infections. Since then, the members of the order Actinomycetales, most notably the genus Streptomyces have proved to be a particularly rich source of antibiotics (Table 1) with extensive therapeutic applications, possibly becaus...

PDF file Download Article

Even viruses can be beneficial microbes

Although viruses are almost always thought of as pathogens, most viruses probably do not cause disease, and some provide essential benefits to their hosts. Beneficial viruses are found in a wide variety of hosts including bacteria, insects, plants, fungi and other microbial eukaryotes, and humans and other animals. Beneficial viruses can confer tolerance to stress such as heat, cold and drought; they can prevent or attenuate infection by pathogenic microbes; they can act as bioweapons to allow their hosts access to new territory; and they have ...

PDF file Download Article

"Beneficial microorganisms for sustainable agriculture"

Global agriculture has to double food production by 2050 in order to feed the world’s growing population and at the same time reduce its reliance on inorganic fertilisers and pesticides. To achieve this goal, there is an urgent need to harness the multiple beneficial interactions that occur between plants and microorganisms. The beneficial influences of microorganisms on plant growth include nitrogen fixation, acquisition and uptake of major nutrients, promotion of shoot and root growth, disease control or suppression and improved soil structur...

PDF file Download Article

Microbes at the extreme: Mining with microbes

The use of microorganisms to recover precious and base metals from mineral ores and concentrates is called biomining, or biohydrometallurgical processing. Biomining occurs through the natural ability of certain microorganisms to catalyse reactions, leading to the solubilisation of metals from the minerals. This process is used today in commercial operations to recover copper, nickel, cobalt, zinc and uranium from complex ores.

PDF file Download Article

The millennium bugs

In the first decade of the new millennium, microorganisms continued to have a disproportionately large impact on biomedical science, not so much because they cause disease but because they provide tractable models in which to study fundamental cellular processes. They have featured in Nobel Prizes every year this century except 2004 and 2010. Of the nine non-mammalian model organisms recognised in the first years of the millennium by the NIH for their value in biomedical research, four were microbes. Collectively, a nation’s effort in studying ...

PDF file Download Article

Algae: an essential link between our past and future

Interest in the replacement of imported fossil-based fuels with home-grown, renewable and cheap sources of energy spikes each time we are paying over $1.50/litre for petrol. This time, however, the danger of an energy shortage coincides with an increasing level of atmospheric CO2 and an approaching global food shortage. This all dictates an urgency for the development of a new generation of feedstocks that will not only produce biofuels or their various components, but that can also be used for feeding animals and humans and at the same time wi...

PDF file Download Article

ASM Affairs, September 2012

ASM2012 report; ASM Awards; FASM Q&A with Kerry Varettas

PDF file Download Article


RSS Free subscription to our email Contents Alert. Or register for the free RSS feed.