Is your spacecraft contaminating the universe?

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. …

Animal antibiotic stewardship workshop

In response to studies showing that antibiotic resistance can spread through the food supply, the FDA has made some recent policy decisions about the use of antibiotics in livestock rearing. A public meeting will be held by the FDA on September 30, 2015, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Jefferson Auditorium, 14th and Independence …

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

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 …

From NC State: Citizen Science Effort Highlights How Little We Know About Invisible Life in Our Own Homes 

Scientists are announcing the discovery of thousands of unidentified species living in and around homes in the United States. NC State has a press release / mini story about the recent paper from the Wildlife of Your Homes project — Source: Citizen Science Effort Highlights How Little We Know About Invisible Life in Our Own …

Rob Dunn on “The First National Inventory of All Household Life (on a swab)”

In dust one can record the actions of storms, the wearing of mountains, the consequences of industrialization. The study of dust has a long history. Geologists consider it. Toxicologists too. Arthur Conan Doyle has Sherlock Holmes look to dust to discern where a criminal might have traveled. But perhaps the most telling feature of dust …

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

. 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 | …

Federal Trade Commission Penalizes False Sanitation Claims

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 …