News » Chapter 25 Bacterial Diversity

Structure and Evolution of Streptomyces Interaction Networks in Soil and In Silico

Contributed by thewho521 on Jul 21, 2013 - 11:16 AM

 Streptomyces are gram-positive, filamentous bacteria that are often found in ground soils.  They are prolific produces of antibiotics.  These microbes survive by secreting toxic antibiotics in an effort to kill surrounding, competing microbes. Different strains of Streptomyces produce different secondary metabolites (antibiotics and other secreted chemicals).  The presence of secondary metabolites can either inhibit or promote the growth of a cell.  With this in mind, Kalin Vetsigian and Roy Kishony (Harvard Medical School) examined interactions between 64 different Streptomyces strains in order to catalog their positive and negative interactions.

Culturing microorganisms

Contributed by paustian on May 22, 2013 - 07:25 PM

For over 100 years microbiologists have known, to their great consternation, that in any given environment, at least 90% of all microbes are unculturable. In the last few decades, we have developed molecular tools to see these microbes in the environment and determine their presences and number, but we still cannot bring them into culture. There are all sorts of ideas for why this might be true. Many of these microbes may be slow growing, and the fast growing microbes easily outpace them in laboratory medium. Maybe the media we use is "too rich" for many microbes and we need to create media with more dilute nutrients to capture these shy microbes. Maybe the metabolic demands of these microbes were too difficult to replicate in the laboratory and many of them will not grow. Whatever the reason, as of right now, we are nearly blind when it come to these unculturable microbes.

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