Is your spacecraft contaminating the universe?


By: Jonathan Eisen

An article at Space.Com discusses a new push to make sure that spacecraft do not inadvertently contaminate the places they are visiting (e.g., Mars).  What microbes are on space vehicles and how to make sure the parts that are sent to other planets are "clean" or "sterile" is an interesting and active area of research.  We have written about this issue here on microBEnet in…

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Simple & elegant solution to a big problem in DNA based microbial diversity studies


By: Jonathan Eisen

A new preprint has come out in PeerJ that presents a simple yet elegant solution to one of the bigger problems in DNA based microbial diversity studies.  The authors (Wenke Smets, Jonathan W Leff, Mark A Bradford, Rebecca L McCulley, Sarah Lebeer, Noah Fierer) show how one can use the addition of an internal standard prior to DNA extractions to allow for the estimation of…

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Sarah Zhang updates "What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment"


By: Jonathan Eisen

. Sarah Zhang at Wired has updated her post from three years ago about bacteria in her apratment with reference to a new study just published from the Wildlife of Your Homes study of bacteria and fungi in homes.  Definitely worth a look. Source: What I Learned From Sequencing the Bacteria in My Apartment | WIRED

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Federal Trade Commission Penalizes False Sanitation Claims


By: Katherine Dahlhausen

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is finally cracking down on products that tap into the neurotic tendencies of extreme germophobes. In this recent Consumerist article, Chris Morran discusses the penalties Zadro Health Solutions and Angel Sales had to pay for false advertising of their disinfection products. Without a single lab experiment, we can already deduce that these products are ineffective. First of all, both products…

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