Antifungal Effectiveness

A really interesting study from Rogawansamy et al explores the effectiveness of various anti-fungals on two common household fungal contaminants. They used a classic inhibitory disk assay, commonly used to test antibiotic efficacy and resistance. They tested Cavicide, Virkon, 70% ethanol, vinegar, and tea tree oil and found that the tea tree oil was most effective on both …

Antibiotic Alternatives

We write a fair bit about antibiotic resistance on this blog, but seldom about the alternatives. Obviously, medicine shouldn’t avoid using antibiotics altogether, but we do need better management and use of our current anti-microbial compounds. We also need new methods of treating infection. Nature News has a brief but informative list of antibiotic alternatives written by …

The Hysteria about Listeria: Thoughts on Food in the Built Environment

About a month ago, listeria found in Sabra Hummus caused a massive food safety recall across the US. So I got to thinking — how common are pathogens in the food we eat and how is this addressed on industrial scales? Food is processed, transported, and eaten in our built environments multiple times a day, …

A disturbing trend – casual and reckless use of antimicrobial agents in building materials.

There was a very interesting artilce in the New York Times on August 21 bu Michael Kimmelman: In Redesigned Room, Hospital Patients May Feel Better Already.  The article focuses on a move by the University Medical Center of Princeton to redesign hospital rooms.  And Kimmelman discusses a variety of issues associated with hospital design. And there were …

Who are the microbes in your neighborhood? And some background for #AAASMoBe Symposium

Tomorrow all day there will be a meeting at AAAS HQ on “Microbiomes of the Built Environment“.  I will be speaking at the meeting, and this is one of my major research areas, so I am a bit biased, but the meeting is going to be great I think.  And it will be webcast live. …

Probiotics: The Good, the Bad, The Unknown, and the Crazy

Microbiology is on a roll, it’s been an amazing couple decades of discoveries that have transformed our understanding of the roles that microbes play in human health.  And this knowledge has pushed its way into popular culture.  Every couple of days I see another popular media article about the influence of microbes on something else; …

“…antibiotic resistance genes may be transported via aerosols on local scales”

In their just published paper in Environmental Science & Technology, “Tetracycline Resistance and Class 1 Integron Genes Associated with Indoor and Outdoor Aerosols,” Alison L. Ling, Norman R. Pace, Mark T. Hernandez, and Timothy M. LaPara have found that genes escape the indoor environment and can be found 2 km away. The abstract can be …