Chrats published 2 papers

Two papers were recently published by Chrats about microbial communities.

In the first paper, the authors show how microbial communities change during wine fermentations, what are the differences in microbial composition between vineyards and which ones are the species that are present during problematic fermentations. In the second paper, which is a first-authorship for Chrats, the authors applied a computational approach to two microbial communities (from kefir and wine) to find properties that distinguish a species from the others. For example, in the case of Kefir, the algorithm predicted that Lactobacilllus kefiranofaciens was dominant during Kefir fermentations, probably because of the high amount of amino acid auxotrophies.

Overall, both papers provide new bioinformatics tools to study very complex microbial communities and generate new insights for important fermentations in the food industry.

Paul published a review

JBAH-Vol.9 No.10 2019.pdf

Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare
Vol.9, No.10, 2019

From Functional Potential of Soil Bacterial Communities Towards Petroleum Hydrocarbons Bioremediation


Molecular ecology researches are rapidly advancing the knowledge of microorganisms associated with petroleum hydrocarbon degradation, one of the major large-scale pollutants in terrestrial ecosystems. The design and monitoring of bioremediation techniques for hydrocarbons rely on a thorough understanding of the diversity of enzymes involved in the processes of hydrocarbon degradation and the microbes that harbor their allocated genes. This review describes the impact of hydrocarbon pollution on soil microbial communities, the state of the art of detecting functional genes, and functional groups. We will focus on i) the structure, function and succession behavior of microbial communities exposed to hydrocarbons, ii) key genes and pathways, iii) future prospect into bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons in aerobic environments. The aim is to get a fundamental insight in these issues to ultimately improve petroleum hydrocarbons bioremediation.

Coco and Rinke presented at NWO-Life 2019

We were represented well at the first edition of the multidisciplinary congress for life scientists: NWO Life 2019.

Coco presented the three different methods that she developed to measure bacterial responses to antibiotics. Checkerboards, fermentors and droplets: Coco uses all of them to distinguish who invades, who resides, and who persists. Given that similar bacteria can invade, reside or persist in our own bodies, there is little need to explain the relevance of this work.

Rinke also uses droplets, but for a different question: can cells communicate? And if so, can they send specific messages to close-by cells, or are their messages open for everyone? She showed that cells can only communicate privately if they live really close together (literally glued to one another). Although this seems abstract at first, it has important consequences for the evolution of symbiotic species: several bacteria that work together to grow faster (which is for example important in yoghurt production). Rinke expects that partnerships can only arise if cheaters are excluded. Conclusion: the partners should have evolved really close together. We all hope that future experiments will tell if this prediction is correct.

Besides our own delegation, there were many enthusiastic speakers. Most impressive were probably the keynote speakers: Iain Couzin and Ottoline Leyser. They talked with so much conviction that it didn’t matter that their research fields were quite far away from microbiology.