Monday 30 January 2017

Secret code language of bacteria revealed

Antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is a growing global challenge. Danish researchers have now discovered that bacteria use a code language to avoid being controlled. Understanding this code language will be paramount to developing new antibiotics in the future.

Pathogenic bacteria -- such as those that cause tuberculosis and typhoid fever -- use a variety of clever tricks against our immune system and the antibiotics we use to control them.

One of these tricks is the ability to go "under cover" and hide from the immune system and the treatment by going into a dormant state where they are not discovered. For several years, researchers at Aarhus University have studied the molecular mechanisms that enable bacteria to hide in this way, and new research now suggests that they also make use of code language in their attempt to avoid being controlled.

A palindrome is a word that reads the same both forwards and backwards, such as the word "kayak." In close collaboration with other leading researchers in bacterial physiology and bioinformatics at the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University, a research team at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University, Denmark, led by Associate Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen, has discovered that a large number of pathogenic bacteria use cryptic palindromes embedded in the sequence of amino acids in their proteins to determine whether the dormant state should be established or interrupted.

The results have just been published in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, and include detailed three-dimensional structures of specific cell toxins that are activated during treatment with for example antibiotics, and demonstrate what happens to them when they bind to specific regions of the DNA of the bacterial cells. The toxins are usually kept in check by their partners, the so-called "anti-toxins," and the researchers have discovered that the palindrome codes enable the anti-toxins to block two toxins at the same time. The amino acid sequence of the codes fits as a key in a lock, and the palindromic sequence is necessary because the two toxins to be blocked are rotated 180 degrees relative to each other.

And moreover, it seems that such codes are present in unprecedented numbers among bacteria. In the analysis of over 4,000 bacterial genomes, the researchers have further shown that up to 1/4 of all known bacteria use such codes in their constant struggle for survival. Therefore, the research results indicate that a better understanding of the code language of the bacteria is necessary to increase the possibilities of developing new antibiotics in the future.


Kirstine L. Bendtsen, Kehan Xu, Majbritt Luckmann, Kristoffer S. Winther, Shiraz A. Shah, Christian N. S. Pedersen, Ditlev E. Brodersen. Toxin inhibition in C. crescentus VapBC1 is mediated by a flexible pseudo-palindromic protein motif and modulated by DNA binding. Nucleic Acids Research, 2016; gkw1266 DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkw1266

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Friday 27 January 2017

Gene transfer on the fungal highway

Soil bacteria use the extensively branched, thread-like structures of fungi to move around and access new food sources. In a new study, researchers have been able to demonstrate that these so-called fungal hyphae also form a hot spot for gene transfer between bacteria. In this way, fungi ensure high bacterial diversity in the soil – which can also be beneficial for the degradation of pollutants.

In their research, the UFZ scientists were also able to show that much greater gene transfer takes place between bacteria on the fungal highway than in a moist environment without fungal hyphae. Using computer models that calculate the frequency of gene transfer between bacteria on the hyphae, the researchers came to the same result. Wick continues: "Our study shows that fungal hyphae not only provide soil bacteria with an excellent infrastructure, but also a potential hot spot for bacterial horizontal gene transfer. This previously unknown aspect of fungus-bacteria interaction is an important step towards understanding the complex interactions between soil-dwelling microorganisms."

Fungi therefore may play a very important role in the highly complex soil habitat: in the spread of soil bacteria, their genetic adaptation and diversity, and ultimately also their evolution.

For further details see:

Tom Berthold, Florian Centler, Thomas Hübschmann, Rita Remer, Martin Thullner, Hauke Harms, Lukas Y. Wick.Mycelia as a focal point for horizontal gene transfer among soil bacteria. Scientific Reports, 2016; 6: 36390 DOI: 10.1038/srep36390

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Ph. Eur. Commission aimed to reduce animal testing

The recent adoption at its 156th session of the following texts demonstrates the Commission’s commitment to the replacement, reduction and refinement of animal tests in the quality control of medicines.
  • Ph. Eur. General Chapter Adopted: Substitution of in vivo methods by in vitro methods for the quality control of vaccines (5.2.14)
  • Revisions of the general texts on Tests for extraneous agents in viral vaccines for human use (2.6.16) and Cell substrates for the production of vaccines for human use (5.2.3)
See the Press Release for full details
More about the Ph. Eur. work programme

Sunday 22 January 2017

Microbiology: An oral history

A BBC radio program about the history of microbiology is available for download as an mp3:

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the history of microbiology. We have more microbes in our bodies than we have human cells. We fear them as the cause of disease, yet are reliant on them for processes as diverse as water purification, pharmaceuticals, bread-making and brewing. In the future, we may look to them to save the planet from environmental hazards as scientists exploit their ability to clean up pollution. For microbes are the great recyclers on the earth, processing everything – plants, animals and us. Without microbes life would grind to a halt. How did we first discover these invisible masters of the universe? The development of microscopes in the 17th Century played a key part, but for a while science seemed stuck in this purely observational role. It is only when Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch began to manipulate microbes in the lab two hundred years later that stunning advances were made. These breakthroughs led to an understanding of how microbes transform matter, spread disease and also prevent it with the development of antibiotics and vaccines.With John Dupré, Professor of Philosophy of Science at Exeter University; Anne Glover, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology at Aberdeen University; and Andrew Mendelsohn, Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at Imperial College, University of London.

To listen, go to: BBC radio

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Saturday 21 January 2017

Scientists examine bacterium found 1,000 feet underground

Researchers find a bacterium 1,000 feet underground (called Paenibacillus) that is resistant to 18 different antibiotics and uses identical methods of defense as similar species found in soils. The scientists identified five novel pathways that were of potential clinical concern.

The results show the bacterium is resistant to 18 different antibiotics and uses identical methods of defense as similar species found in soils. This suggests that the evolutionary pressure to conserve these resistance genes has existed for millions of years -- not just since antibiotics were first used to treat disease.

Among the different ways that the bacteria could be resistant to antibiotics, the scientists identified five novel pathways that were of potential clinical concern. Finding these new pathways is particularly valuable, as it gives researchers time to develop new drugs to combat this type of resistance, potentially decades before it will become a problem for doctors and their patients.

For further details see:

Andrew C. Pawlowski, Wenliang Wang, Kalinka Koteva, Hazel A. Barton, Andrew G. McArthur, Gerard D. Wright. A diverse intrinsic antibiotic resistome from a cave bacterium.Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 13803 DOI:10.1038/ncomms13803

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Friday 20 January 2017

Contamination Control Under Foot

Control of airborne and surface microorganisms and airborne particles in a cleanroom is achieved through the physical operation of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system and cleaning and disinfection techniques.

Even with these factors taken into account, contamination can still occur. One area of concern is the entry of personnel2 and the movement of equipment into and out of cleanrooms.3 Traditional ways to control these activities have centered on gowning techniques and the cleaning of equipment. To accomplish this, cleanroom mats are frequently used to remove particles from footwear and from trolley wheels.

Research undertaken at an independent laboratory evaluates the performance of temporary adhesive mats and semi-permanent polymeric flooring in retaining contamination from footwear, and particle generation from removing layers of the adhesive mats.

To view the research and the article, see: Controlled Environments magazine.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Contamination Control in Healthcare Manufacturing (book)

The latest in the series from Masden and Moldenhauer is available, covering such key topics as
  • Regulatory changes relative to ISO 14644, Parts 1 and 2
  • Updates to ISO 11737-1
  • Risks of spores including preventive measures and disinfection 
  • Utilities, surfaces and practices that impact cleanrooms 
  • Cleanroom gowning and behavior
  • Regulatory guidance and how-to relative to handwashing 
  • Contamination in water systems 
  • Contamination in gaskets, drains, cooling systems and many other problem areas 
  • And more, including chapters covering Monitoring relative to USP <1116>, control limits, excursions, risk-based big data in aseptic processing and methods for effective use of Maldi-Tof
For details please see the PDA store or use the flyer below
Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Monday 16 January 2017

Data Integrity Considerations for the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Laboratory

Data integrity refers to maintaining and assuring the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life-cycle, and is a critical aspect to the design, implementation and usage of any system which stores, processes, or retrieves data. Data integrity is a key regulatory concern and guidance documents have been produced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Moreover, data integrity in relation to the microbiology laboratory features in several FDA warning letters, especially in relation to sample handling and reading.

This is the subject of a new paper from Tim Sandle. The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2016) Data Integrity Considerations for the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Laboratory, Journal of GXP Compliance, 20 (6): 1-12

The paper can be found on the IVT website here.

For further details, please contact Tim Sandle

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Sunday 15 January 2017

Breast milk contains over 700 different bacteria

To understand and to characterize the range of different bacteria the scientists used DNA sequencing to identify the set of bacteria contained within breast milk, according to a research brief. The totality of microorganisms within an environment is called the microbiome.

The researchers noticed some difference between mothers, Eureka! notes. The difference was that the milk of overweight mothers or those who put on more weight than recommended during pregnancy contains a lesser diversity of species. If the premise that a wide variety of species is important for a developing child's immune system, then the finding has implications. A related finding was that the hormonal state of the mother at the time of labor also plays a role in the diversity of milk bacteria.
The study was led by María Carmen Collado, researcher at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA-CSIC) and Alex Mira, researcher at the Higher Public Health Research Centre (CSISP-GVA).

The research is of importance, Live Science reveals, because the breast milk received from the mother is one of the factors determining how the bacterial flora will develop in the newborn baby. The bacteria contained within the human gut have been shown to affect the health of a person, including a likelihood of obesity.

The next strand of research is likely to lead to a comparison between breast milk and infant formula to see if the range of bacteria in breast milk helps to prevent the baby from developing allergies, asthma and autoimmune diseases.

The results have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Friday 13 January 2017

Remembering Scott V.W. Sutton

IVT Network remembers Scott Sutton, a premier microbiologist, author, IVT Network Advisory Board Member, friend and mentor to many, By Jeanne Moldenhauer

Dr. Sutton worked at Bausch and Lomb and Alcon Laboratories in the research and development laboratories. He was responsible for the development of many microbiological methods. Later in his career at Alcon Laboratories, he did much of the early development work that led to Alcon Laboratories to be the first drug company to obtain approval of a rapid microbiological sterility test for their products.

After leaving Alcon, Scott became a Pharma Consultant at Vectech Pharmaceutical Consultants. When he left Vectech, he consulted through his own company, The Microbiology Network, Inc. Scott promoted pharmaceutical microbiology in many ways. He taught many courses, operated the Pharmaceutical Microbiology Forum, which presented conferences for the pharmaceutical industry as well as issuing the PMF newsletter for microbiologists. Scott also moderated the PMF List, an international discussion group for microbiologists and served in various capacities on the USP Panel of Experts. His experience in pharmaceutical microbiology was a level higher than most microbiologists. He always had a new thought or concept to challenge the current beliefs in microbiology, even if the beliefs came from regulatory authorities.

During much of his career, Scott also taught at local universities where students were able to learn from his great experience.

Scott was very involved with trade organizations also. One of these organizations was the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA). Over the years, he sat on several task forces, wrote books and book chapters for the Technical Books committee, published numerous articles, and was a frequent lecturer and instructor for the organization.

Scott also always tried to help if you went to him to ask a question or help in finding a literature reference. He had an extensive literature database including the specific literature and a system to easily find the article. If it was written about pharmaceutical microbiology, you could be almost certain he read the article.

He taught several courses for IVT as well and served on the editorial board of this group. One time, he gave a talk on how we one can use social media for microbiology. It was amazing how much research he put into the topic, including the full day a week he spent researching new topics on microbiology.

While at a PDA meeting on Monday October 19, 2015 Scott was at a vendor party and suddenly passed away. He was predeceased by his father, George L. and survived by his wife of 35 years, Mary Ellen. Their children include: Jessica (Shane) Logan, David and Steven Sutton; grandchildren, Jacob and Hannah; Scott’s mother, Grace Guidry; brother, Mark H. (Wendi); and several nieces and nephews.

The pharmaceutical industry as a whole recognizes the value of Scott’s work over the years. He will be truly missed!

Below is a sample of Scott Sutton's vast work for the IVT Network:

Successful Use of a Contract Microbiology Laboratory

Qualification of a Contract Microbiology Laboratory

Hand Washing - A Critical Aspect of Personal Hygiene in Pharma

If desired, contributions can be made to the Scott Sutton Memorial Fund, 150 Parkway Drive, North Chili, NY 14514

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Antibodies in breast milk could help to combat HIV

Scientists have found important antibodies in the breast milk of an HIV infected mother which can protect the mother’s baby from HIV. This could lead to the development of a new vaccine.

According to a research brief, the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can be transmitted from mother to child via breastfeeding. However, the chance of infection is much lower when compared with other body fluids. Scientists have calculated that the chance of a baby contracting HIV is 1 in 10, where the mother is HIV-infected.

The reason for this has emerged from some recent research. Scientists based at Duke University has determined that antibodies from special cells (called B-cells) in mother’s milk are able neutralize HIV.

Fierce Biotech states that this research involved isolating cells from the breast milk of an HIV-infected woman in Malawi, three days after the birth of her child. The research was specific to the HIV-1 strain of the virus.

The implications of the research are that it could lead to an HIV vaccine. The findings may also help researchers with new investigations into adult-to-adult transmission, in addition to mother-to-child transmission

The scientific team was led by Sallie Permar, an assistant professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases. The research findings were presented in a paper titled “Isolation of HIV-1-Neutralizing Mucosal Monoclonal Antibodies from Human Colostrum”. The paper was published in the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Best Practices in Keeping Cleanrooms Contamination Free (course)

Pharmig are hosting a one day meeting on cleanrooms and contamination control:

16th February 2017 – Warwickshire (Near Birmingham International Airport)

  • Attend and receive FREE Pharmigs latest publication: Guide to Cleanroom Operation & Contamination Control.
  • Introduction to cleanrooms – Tim Sandle – Head of Microbiology, BPL
  • Cleanroom behaviour and aseptic practices – Laura Guardi – Senior QA Auditor, AstraZeneca
  • Selection, specification and qualification of cleanroom clothing – Tim Eaton – Sterile Manufacturing Specialist, AstraZeneca
  • Implementing a cleanroom gowning qualification programme – Speaker Invited
  • Practical workshop – Led by all speakers
  • VDI Guideline 9.2 –The Harmonisation Process within the Pharmaceutical Industry – Carsten Moschner – Chairman 2083- 9.2, VDI Association
  • Selection of consumables for cleanroom use (session TBC) – Carsten Moschner – Chairman 2083- 9.2, VDI Association
  • Validation of hand hygiene products – Kim Morwood – Director, MGS Laboratories
Tim Sandle is presenting on cleanrooms and contamination control

Download the Agenda and Booking Form

Best Practices in Cleaning & Disinfectants (course)

Pharmig are running a one day course of interest:

15th February 2017 – Warwickshire (Near Birmingham International Airport)
  • Attend and receive FREE Pharmigs updated publication: Guide to Disinfectants and their use in the Pharmaceutical Industry.
  • Regulatory overview of current disinfection practices and standards – Proposed speaker: MHRA (Invited)
  • Cleanroom contamination and need for disinfection – Tim Sandle – Head of Microbiology, BPL
  • How disinfectants work – Laura Guardi – Senior QA Auditor, AstraZeneca
  • Strategies for disinfectant validation: a practical approach – Kim Morwood – Director, MGS Laboratories
  • Key elements for a disinfection policy – Laura Guardi – Senior QA Auditor, AstraZeneca
  • Best practice for application of cleaning agents and disinfectants – Karen Rossington – European Marketing Manager, Contec
  • Practical workshop demonstrations – All speakers will help to run this session
Tim Sandle is presenting on spores and sporicides. 

Sunday 8 January 2017

First structures of the human immune system recognizing tuberculosis

Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of TB, has infected over one-third of the entire human population with an annual death toll of approximately 1.5 million people.

For the first time, an international team of scientists from Monash and Harvard Universities have seen how, at a molecular level, the human immune system recognises TB infected cells and initiates an immune response. Their findings, published in Nature Communications, are the first step toward developing new diagnostic tools and novel immunotherapies.

Lead author, Professor Jamie Rossjohn says one of the main reasons for our current lack of knowledge comes down to the complexity of the bacterium itself. Working with Professor Branch Moody's team at Harvard, they have begun to gain key insight into how the immune system can recognise this bacterium.

Crucial to the success of M. tuberculosis as a pathogen is its highly unusual cell wall that not only serves as a barrier against therapeutic attack, but also modulates the host immune system. Conversely, its cell wall may also be the "Achilles' heel" of mycobacteria as it is essential for the growth and survival of these organisms. This unique cell wall is composed of multiple layers that form a rich waxy barrier, and many of these lipid -- also known as fatty acids -- components represent potential targets for T-cell surveillance.

Specifically, using the Australian Synchrotron, the team of scientists have shown how the immune system recognises components of the waxy barrier from the M. tuberculosis cell wall.

"With so many people dying from TB every year, any improvements in diagnosis, therapeutic design and vaccination will have major impacts," Professor Moody says.

"Our research is focussed on gaining a basic mechanistic understanding of an important biomedical question. And may ultimately provide a platform for designing novel therapeutics for TB and treat this devastating disease," Professor Rossjohn concludes.

For further details see:

Stephanie Gras, Ildiko Van Rhijn, Adam Shahine, Tan-Yun Cheng, Mugdha Bhati, Li Lynn Tan, Hanim Halim, Kathryn D. Tuttle, Laurent Gapin, Jérôme Le Nours, D. Branch Moody, Jamie Rossjohn. T cell receptor recognition of CD1b presenting a mycobacterial glycolipid. Nature Communications, 2016; 13257 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13257


Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Friday 6 January 2017

VirusDetect: a new bioinformatics pipeline

Researchers studying the viruses that affect agricultural production or human health now have a new tool for investigating where viruses have spread, on a local, national, or even global scale.

VirusDetect is a free, open-source bioinformatics pipeline that can efficiently analyze small RNA (sRNA) datasets to identify both known and novel viruses. Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) Associate Professor Zhangjun Fei and colleagues present this pipeline in a recent paper in Virology.

"We choose this small RNA sequencing technology because it is a highly efficient technology for virus identification and discovery," said Fei. "VirusDetect is the first bioinformatics tool that is specifically designed to analyze this kind of data for virus detection."

There are many ways to detect a virus. Traditional methods use microscopes, antibodies or molecular techniques that detect specific sequences of viral genetic material -- all techniques that are not highly efficient, especially in detecting novel viruses. With newer sequencing technology, researchers can sequence viral DNA or RNA along with the host material, but this approach requires expensive, deep sequencing, and early, low-level infections can be easily missed.

VirusDetect takes advantage of an antiviral defense system shared by both plants and animals called RNA interference (RNAi). When a plant or animal cell is invaded by a virus, the cell churns out numerous small RNAs that are just 21-24 nucleotides long. By sequencing these small RNAs and feeding the dataset into the VirusDetect pipeline, scientists can predict the presence of RNA viruses, DNA viruses and viroids.

Fei's lab used this tool to create a Pan-African sweet potato virome, which describes all the viruses affecting sweet potatoes in multiple locations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. With more than 1,000 field samples, the researchers couldn't process this much data manually and needed a high-throughput pipeline to identify the known and unknown viruses.

For further details see:

Yi Zheng, Shan Gao, Chellappan Padmanabhan, Rugang Li, Marco Galvez, Dina Gutierrez, Segundo Fuentes, Kai-Shu Ling, Jan Kreuze, Zhangjun Fei. VirusDetect: An automated pipeline for efficient virus discovery using deep sequencing of small RNAs. Virology, 2017; 500: 130 DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2016.10.017

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Thursday 5 January 2017

How to Break the Chain of Surface Infection with a UV Device

Studies have shown that less than 50 percent of environmental surfaces in patient-care rooms are properly cleaned and disinfected, leading to elevated rates of healthcare-associated infections in hospitals. With changing technologies and the emergence of complex electronic equipment, a shift to UV devices for surface disinfection is becoming increasingly necessary.

Infection Control Today has issued a Digital Magazine that provides research-backed information detailing the positive effects of a UV device for surface disinfection directly related to patient satisfaction, CDI reduction, room turnaround time, and even hospital reputations and financial stability.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Validation Risk Management Approach To Establishing Sampling Plans

The biopharmaceutical industry is continuously undergoing organizational changes intended to better support the healthcare industries while maintaining quality and reducing cost. A new article by Allan Marinelli, for Pharmaceutical Online, illustrates how manufacturers can add value to their operations by using a quality validation risk management approach for the development of sampling plans. Establishing a quality validation risk management approach for all pharmaceutical processes would increase the probability of successful outcomes for both the companies producing the products — by helping to meet regulatory requirements — while better contributing to the quality of healthcare for patients.

The article can be found here: Pharmaceutical Online

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

EMA Admits Brexit May Cause Significant Disruption

Guido Rasi, Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has conceded that the planned exit of the U.K. from the European Union (EU) could have a major impact on the activities of the EMA.

“The extent of the impact of Brexit on the Agency’s operations and location is uncertain and will depend on the future relationship between the EU and the UK,” he told the EMA’s Management Board. “Depending on the outcome of the negotiations, this could cause significant disruption to the Agency’s operations and business continuity plans will need to be in place.”

As part of its preparedness, EMA will continue carrying out impact assessments to identify the main risks and propose measures to maintain its ability to protect public health, Rasi added.

Speculation about a possible new location for EMA is likely to continue throughout 2017, however. Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Sweden have expressed a keen interest in accommodating the agency, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper on August 1st, 2016.

Despite the uncertainty caused by the outcome of the U.K. referendum, EMA remains committed to carrying on with its responsibilities as usual, according to Rasi. The Board has adopted a budget of 322 million euros for 2017, a 4.4% increase over the previous year. This is expected to cover the 5.4% increase in its fee-financed workload and will also allow the EMA to focus on priority areas such as antimicrobial resistance, supporting innovation and access to both human and veterinary medicines, increasing and improving regulatory capacity and capability as well as its continued commitment to increased transparency, he stated. The work program is being finalized and will be published by the end of January 2017.

Also, the Board endorsed an extension of the concept of multinational assessment teams to post-authorization assessments. EMA has encouraged the formation of assessment teams not by country but by expertise since 2013, initially for the assessment of new medicines. Following the endorsement by the Board, assessment teams made up of experts from several member states will be able to evaluate applications for extensions of marketing authorizations of existing medicines as of April 2017.

The Board approved the launch of a public consultation to revise the agency’s policy on access to documents. The revision seeks to take account of the experience gained since the current policy came into effect in 2010 and to extend its scope to include both access to documents that relate to human or veterinary medicines as well as to corporate information. The launch of the consultation, including the publication of the consultation documents, is expected in January 2017.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Digitalizing the microbiome

Hundreds of different bacterial species live in the human gut, helping us to digest our food. The metabolic processes of these bacteria are not only tremendously important to our health—they are also tremendously complex. A research team has taken an important step in modelling the complexity of the human gut’s bacterial communities—the microbiome—on the computer.

A research team at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg has taken an important step in modelling the complexity of the human gut's bacterial communities -- the microbiome -- on the computer. The researchers gathered all known data on the metabolism of 773 bacterial strains -- more than ever before. Working from this data, they developed a computer model for each bacterial strain. This collection, known as AGORA, can now be used on the computer to simulate metabolic processes taking place in the microbes and to investigate how they affect the metabolism of other microbes and that of the human host. The collection of predictive metabolic models is available to researchers via

For further details see:

Stefanía Magnúsdóttir, Almut Heinken, Laura Kutt, Dmitry A Ravcheev, Eugen Bauer, Alberto Noronha, Kacy Greenhalgh, Christian Jäger, Joanna Baginska, Paul Wilmes, Ronan M T Fleming, Ines Thiele. Generation of genome-scale metabolic reconstructions for 773 members of the human gut microbiota. Nature Biotechnology, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nbt.3703

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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