Archived Newsletter March 2013

Welcome to microBEnet News
March 2013 

Resource of the Month

Focusing on resources found on


This month we would like to draw attention to our event calendar.   Here we keep track of conferences and events relating to the microbiology of the built environment. Additional suggestions are more than welcome!


MicroBEnet Blogs

A brief summary of the recent topics posted on

This month we have branched out a bit with the blog (no Legionella stories!).

Various researchers have conducted and then posted Google Hangouts discussing:

In a similar vein, Adam Altrichter allowed us to post some suggestions for troubleshooting 16S PCR.

The single biggest topic was posts relating to Project MERCCURI (also known as “Microbes in Spaaaace!”).

Other topics included:

MicroBEnet is always seeking new blogs relevant to microbiology and the built environment. Your suggestions are always welcome.


Highlighted Project
People Behind the Science

This month we are highlighting a new project designed primarily to increase public awareness of microbes in built environments.   This is Project MERCCURI, also known as “Microbes in Spaaaace!” This research is being conducted in collaboration with The Science Cheerleaders,, Nanoracks, and Space Florida. There are three components to this project:


The Space Station (ISS) Microbiome

Just like it sounds, the astronauts on the ISS will take surface samples for a 16S analysis of who is living on the space station.

Swabbing Sports and Space Events

This portion of the project, largely managed by Science Cheerleaders, will involve collecting 2000 samples from sport and space fans around the country. The cheerleaders will lead collections of cell phone and shoe samples which will be processed by the Earth Microbiome Project and related to a previous work, Home Microbiome Study.


Microbial Playoffs

A microbial growth competition will take place on the ISS.   A subset of samples collected at public events will be cultured at UC Davis and the “best” microbe from each environment will be sent to the ISS for a “microbial playoffs” competition. A duplicate of this experiment will be conducted on earth and the results compared.


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