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September 2010

"Microorganisms are the good guys"

Professor Michael Gillings is an evolutionary biologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Here in this interview he speaks to Mary Murray and Satya Sivaraman about the fascinating world of microbes and why we need to take a fresh look at current approaches to the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.


Veterinarians Demand That Their Voice Be Heard

Veterinarians should be involved in the “decision-making process” when it comes to the use of antibiotics in animals, says American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Read more at:

Antibiotic Cubicin Linked To Life-Threatening Pneumonia, Warns FDA

Cubicin was approved in September 2003 for treating serious skin infections such as staphylococcus aureus bacteremia (including MRSA) and in 2006 to treat bloodstream infections. After a review of the medical literature and adverse event reports, the US FDA has confirmed seven cases of eosinophilic pneumonia since 2004 and an additional 36 possible cases. The agency is requesting a new label warning be added for Cubicin. The FDA is also recommending that healthcare professionals closely monitor patients being treated with Cubicin for signs of eosinophilic pneumonia. Read more at:


Speeding Up Diagnosis Of Infectious Diseases

A start-up company is developing diagnostic tests designed to detect harmful microorganisms by zeroing in on the genes responsible for their harmful effects or their resistance to certain drugs. The company will initially focus on detecting the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, and aims to have a product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2012, with a target of $10 per test. Read more in this news report at:

Circumventing Cancer Drug Resistance With Chinese Herbal Medicine

Multi-drug resistance (MDR) of cancer cells severely limits therapeutic outcomes. A proposed mechanism for MDR involves the efflux of anti-cancer drugs from cancer cells, primarily mediated by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) membrane transporters including P-glycoprotein.

This article by Stella Chai, Kenneth KW To, Ge Lin in Chinese Medicine, 2010, 5:26 (25 July 2010), reviews the recent progress of using active ingredients, extracts and formulae from Chinese medicine (CM) in circumventing ABC transporters-mediated MDR.

Microbial Conversion Of Cellulosic Biomass To Ethanol

New research results on enzyme-microbes synergy support the desirability of biotechnological processes featuring microbial conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol (or other products) in the absence of added saccharolytic enzymes.


More details available at:;103...

Human Microbiome Project—Advances In The Study Of Human Microbes

Researchers have published an analysis of 178 genomes from microbes that live in or on the human body. The accomplishment sets the stage to better understand how these diverse organisms affect human health and disease.

Read more in this news report available at.

Pili As A Mediator Of Intimate (Human) Host-Microbe Interactions

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) is one of the most extensively studied probiotic strains, whose health-promoting effects have been demonstrated in a numerous clinical trials. TRecent studies revealed on the cell surface of LGG proteinaceous polymeric structures known as pili, show them  to be responsible for the adherence of LGG to the human intestinal mucus. Read more at:

An Underground Revolution Can Help Overcome The Global Food Crisis?

Plant breeders are turning their attention to roots to increase yields without causing environmental damage.

Read more in this news feature  in Nature:

The report is available also as a PDF file at: