Dear TWiM team,

We wanted to write to sincerely thank Elio for his endorsement of the Boston Bacterial Meeting during last week’s episode. We enjoyed having him as a guest two years ago and we were very pleasantly surprised to hear him mention us!

Would you be willing to provide a few additional details about our conference to your listeners if you have the space in your next episode? This is our promotional description:

Boston Bacterial Meeting invites you to join a quorum of fellow bacterial researchers in New England and beyond; visit to register!

More information if you’d like to share it:

  • 2-day conference runs from May 31st – June 1st
  • Organized by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows
  • Attendance is now at ~550 researchers from hundreds of labs
  • Opportunities to attend oral and poster sessions as well as breakout discussion sections
  • Our keynote speaker is Dianne Newman, Professor of Biology and Geobiology at Caltech


Thao and the TWiM fans on the BBM Organizing Committee

Dallas writes:

In your discussions about the chemosynthetic bacteria, you mentioned metabolism of H2, CO, and methane.

In terms of energy available, methane has both the highest concentration, up around 1.7 ppmv vs. 0.5 for H2 and 0.1 for CO. Note that these are molar amounts in air and the weight concentration ratios are even high in favor of methane along with the energy ratios ( CH4/H2 is about 3.5 on energy). The H/C ratio for methane as the food supply is higher than normal life forms with far more C and O in their makeup and that must come from CO2 providing a carbon supply.…

I didn’t bother reading the article so it may have stressed methane + oxygen metabolism but I do know that methane would be the dominant food supply. Methane is highly soluble in membrane lipids and is chemically concentrated allowing even more efficient metabolism.

That is why I consider all the environmental activists worry about increased methane emissions from fracking pure activists nonsense. To get the methane concentration high enough to be a significant greenhouse gas, the bacteria in soils and water that run on methane + oxygen as an energy supply would dramatically increase the bacterial concentration and eliminate the methane.

If they left out methane metabolism, perhaps they were just being PC as they know the concentrations and energies. Science shouldn’t be PC, it should be what is true even if it says the methane emissions may be self-limiting with increased emissions just being eaten up by increase bacterial biomass.

By the way, a factory producing single cell bacteria protein is under construction in Louisiana (I think, not sure) using methane and oxygen that is going to be used in fish diets, especially targeting substituting fish meal use in farmed salmon diets. Instead of using food to produce fuel with little CO2 reduction and lots of profits for cronies (the mandatory ethanol production system), this process uses fuel (methane) to produce protein for fish feed providing human food. It is fully approved feed ingredient in Europe where they actually have permitted offshore aquaculture to exist as a food production method. With our fracking, we have cheap methane to feed the bacteria. Energy and food are fungible.

Greg writes: (re TWiM 133, novel antibiotic from a commensal bacterium that grows in the human nose.)

Fantastic show, thank you so much for contributing to the enlightenment of the world community. I was trying to retell the story (mechanisms) of this novel MRSA defense strategy using lugdunin, which is essentially good bug vs bad bug (perhaps something we should be investigating further, like phages), and forgot the details told by Michael Schmidt how it disrupted multiple pathways, however transcripts do not appear available? So will have listen to the podcast again, which is not a bad thing as I often miss things when my mind wanders on the ramifications of a particular mechanism you bring to light and I don’t hit pause.

My comment is: I think it would increase the audience, and usability, of the material you present if it were also available as a transcript. Obviously this is a cost, and it is preferable to have more content than less, but with notes available. Perhaps your sponsors could pick up the tab and embed advertising in the transcript, as it would surely increase your audience and exposure.

So grateful for all I have learned and the insights you offer.