Abstract: The MDPI journal Microorganisms is still very young, having been launched in 2013, but the concept of the microorganism has been in use for at least a century as a unifying principle for the discipline of microbiology, which was cemented firmly by the intellectual work of Roger Stanier and colleagues in their Microbial World and other general microbiology textbooks and related articles from the 1950s to the 1970s [1,2]. Merging the idea of the microscopic and the very small with the older idea of an organism as a living entity or cell, the concept of a microorganism enabled a real appreciation of the microbial world as one that is amenable to study using similar tools and approaches even though representing distinctly different types of reproductive units and cell organizations. In the late 20th century following the work of Carl Woese and other molecular evolutionists, biologists came to appreciate the commonality among all organisms, all being comprised of cells that bear a remarkable similarity to one another and that share a common evolutionary ancestry, and consequently with major features of a largely shared genetic code and molecular biology. In this sense microbiology and biology as a whole became unified as they never had been before.[...]
Abstract: Streptococcus mutans is a key etiological agent in the formation of dental caries. The major virulence factor is its ability to form biofilms. Inhibition of S. mutans biofilms offers therapeutic prospects for the treatment and the prevention of dental caries. In this study, 14 analogs of makaluvamine, a marine alkaloid, were evaluated for their antibacterial activity against S. mutans and for their ability to inhibit S. mutans biofilm formation. All analogs contained the tricyclic pyrroloiminoquinone core of makaluvamines. The structural variations of the analogs are on the amino substituents at the 7-position of the ring and the inclusion of a tosyl group on the pyrrole ring N of the makaluvamine core. The makaluvamine analogs displayed biofilm inhibition with IC50 values ranging from 0.4 μM to 88 μM. Further, the observed bactericidal activity of the majority of the analogs was found to be consistent with the anti-biofilm activity, leading to the conclusion that the anti-biofilm activity of these analogs stems from their ability to kill S. mutans. However, three of the most potent N-tosyl analogs showed biofilm IC50 values at least an order of magnitude lower than that of bactericidal activity, indicating that the biofilm activity of these analogs is more selective and perhaps independent of bactericidal activity.
Abstract: Aspergillus terreus is an industrially important filamentous fungus producing a wide spectrum of secondary metabolites, including lovastatin and itaconic acid. It also produces butyrolactone I which has shown potential as an antitumour agent. Additionally, butyrolactone I has been implicated to have a regulating role in the secondary metabolism and morphology of A. terreus. In this study, a quantitative time-course liquid chromatography—electrospray ionisation—tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS-MS) analysis of butyrolactone I is reported for the first time in nine-day long submerged cultures of A. terreus. Butyrolactone I was fragmented in the mass analysis producing a reproducible fragmentation pattern of four main daughter ions (m/z 307, 331, 363 and 393) in all the samples tested. Supplementing the cultures with 100 nM butyrolactone I caused a statistically significant increase (up to two-fold) in its production, regardless of the growth stage but was constitutive when butyrolactone I was added at high cell density during the stationary phase. Furthermore, the extracellular butyrolactone I concentration peaked at 48 h post inoculation, showing a similar profile as has been reported for bacterial quorum sensing molecules. Taken together, the results support the idea of butyrolactone I as a quorum sensing molecule in A. terreus.
Abstract: This review presents selected data on the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis BB-12® (BB-12®), which is the world’s most documented probiotic Bifidobacterium. It is described in more than 300 scientific publications out of which more than 130 are publications of human clinical studies. The complete genome sequence of BB-12® has been determined and published. BB-12® originates from Chr. Hansen’s collection of dairy cultures and has high stability in foods and as freeze dried powders. Strain characteristics and mechanisms of BB-12® have been established through extensive in vitro testing. BB-12® exhibits excellent gastric acid and bile tolerance; it contains bile salt hydrolase, and has strong mucus adherence properties, all valuable probiotic characteristics. Pathogen inhibition, barrier function enhancement, and immune interactions are mechanisms that all have been demonstrated for BB-12®. BB-12® has proven its beneficial health effect in numerous clinical studies within gastrointestinal health and immune function. Clinical studies have demonstrated survival of BB-12® through the gastrointestinal tract and BB-12® has been shown to support a healthy gastrointestinal microbiota. Furthermore, BB-12® has been shown to improve bowel function, to have a protective effect against diarrhea, and to reduce side effects of antibiotic treatment, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In terms of immune function, clinical studies have shown that BB-12® increases the body’s resistance to common respiratory infections as well as reduces the incidence of acute respiratory tract infections.
Abstract: Dinoflagellates are a member of the Alveolata, and elucidation of the early evolution of alveolates is important for our understanding of dinoflagellates, and vice versa. The ultrastructure of the flagellar apparatus has been described from several dinoflagellates in the last few decades, and the basic components appear to be well conserved. The typical dinoflagellate apparatus is composed of two basal bodies surrounded by striated collars attached to a connective fiber. The longitudinal basal body is connected to a longitudinal microtubular root (LMR; equivalent of R1) and single microtubular root (R2), whereas the transverse basal body is connected to a transverse microtubular root (TMR; R3) and transverse striated root (TSR) with a microtubule (R4). Some of these components, especially the connective fibers and collars, are dinoflagellate specific characteristics that make their flagellar apparatus relatively complex. We also compare these structures with the flagellar apparatus from a number of close relatives of dinoflagellates and their sister, the apicomplexans, including colpodellids, perkinsids, and Psammosa. Though the ultrastructural knowledge of these lineages is still relatively modest, it provides us with an interesting viewpoint of the character evolution of the flagellar apparatus among those lineages.
Abstract: The effect of high-voltage electrical stimulation on fruit body formation in cultivating mushrooms was evaluated using a compact pulsed power generator designed and based on an inductive energy storage system. An output voltage from 50 to 130 kV with a 100 ns pulse width was used as the electrical stimulation to determine the optimum amplitude. The pulsed high voltage was applied to a sawdust-based substrate of Lyophyllum decastes and natural logs hosting Lentinula edodes, Pholiota nameko, and Naematoloma sublateritium. The experimental results showed that the fruit body formation of mushrooms increased 1.3–2.0 times in terms of the total weight. The accumulated yield of Lentinula edodes for four cultivation seasons was improved from 160 to 320 g by applying voltages of 50 or 100 kV. However, the yield was decreased from 320 to 240 g upon increasing the applied voltage from 100 to 130 kV. The yield of the other types of mushrooms showed tendencies similar to those of Lentinula edodes when voltage was applied. An optimal voltage was confirmed for efficient fruit body induction. The hypha activity was evaluated by the amount of hydrophobin release, which was mainly observed before the fruit body formation. The hydrophobin release decreased for three hours after stimulation. However, the hydrophobin release from the vegetative hyphae increased 2.3 times one day after the stimulation.