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October 2011

A F F I L I AT E S L E T T E R The official newsletter for FEMS Affiliates

New FEMS Focus issue now available!

Dr James Prosser is new FEMS Publications Manager Long-time FEMS Ecology journal (FEMSEC) Chief Editor Dr James Prosser took over the reins of FEMS Publications Manager during the 38th FEMS Council Meeting in Leuven, Belgium last month (September). Dr Prosser was elected Publications Manager last year at the 37th FEMS Council Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic.

Also in this issue Virtual Issues of FEMS Journals available Remembering Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek EMF Survey update Next Focus issue to address tuberculosis Get to know SIMTREA Upcoming Grants deadlines Upcoming FEMS-sponsored meetings Microbiology tidbits

The FEMS Publications Department receives this news with much enthousiasm. Mrs Gillian van Beest, former FEMSEC Editorial Administrator, describes Dr Prosser as, “an excellent Editor and inspiring Chief Editor. The increase in FEMS Ecology’s impact factor is in no mean measure to his determination.” “He has a lot of good ideas and is very pro-active”, she adds. Dr Prosser is renowned for making valuable contacts especially in China and fostering Englishlanguage microbial ecology publication from indigenous authors there. One obvious result of this is the FEMSEC Thematic Issue on Chinese Microbial Ecology published in November 2009.

www.fems-microbiology.org

Dr James Prosser (right) replaced Dr Fergus Priest (left) as FEMS Publications Manager in September “He’s a visionary. He’s ready to move the journals to a new direction. He tries new things,” says Editorial Coordinator Dr Goda Sporn of Dr Prosser. Along with his new responsibility at FEMS, Dr Prosser chairs the Environmental Microbiology Department at the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences University of Aberdeen. In connection with this story, FEMS would like to thank formers FEMS Publications Manager Dr Fergus Priest for all his hard work .


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ISSUES NOW AVAILABLE! Abstract from Apoptosis Virtual Issue: Subcellular distribution of glutathione in yeast Glutathione detoxifies reactive oxygen species (ROS) and is also involved in the modulation of gene expression, in redox signaling, and in the regulation of enzymatic activities. In this study, the subcellular distribution of glutathione was studied in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by quantitative immunoelectron microscopy. Highest glutathione contents were detected in mitochondria and subsequently in the cytosol, nuclei, cell walls, and vacuoles.

sequestration of glutathione could be identified as an important defense mechanism for the protection of cells against ROS. The method presented in this study will help clarify the compartmentspecific importance of glutathione in S. cerevisiae during cell growth, development, and defense and will contribute toward a better understanding of compartment-specific glutathione metabolism during situations of oxidative stress. Zechmann et al., FEMS Yeast Res 2011, 11: 631–642. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2011.00753.x

As a decrease in glutathione content in mitochondria could be correlated with oxidative stress and apoptosis, it seems that high levels of glutathione in mitochondria play an important role for the development, growth, and defense against ROS. Additionally, the importance of vacuoles for the

LIST OF ALL VIRTUAL ISSUES AVAILABLE FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology Virtual Special Issue on Rickettsia FEMS Yeast Research Virtual Issue on Apoptosis Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology Virtual Issue FEMS Microbiology Ecology Polar and Alpine Microbiology p a g e 2 / 6 | O c t 2 0 11

Get the combined online subscription to the FEMS Journals from â‚Ź187. SUBSCRIBE NOW. This could be your last chance to get it for this price. (Price to increase in 2012)

www.fems-microbiology.org


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This month, we celebrate the birth of Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek, the Father of Microbiology. Although he did not have a microbiology background, Van Leeuwenhoek was interested in all This portrait of things small and unseen to the naked eye. It is was painted by Ant honie van Leeuwenhoek at the Rijksmus Jan Verkolje and can be foun because of this and his high quality scientific eum in Amsterd d am, The Nethe rl ands. findings that he is known as the first microbiologist. If he were alive today, he’d be 379 years old. Van Leeuwenhoek was born in Delft, The Netherlands on October 24, 1632. It is a nice coincidence that the FEMS Central Office is situated in this same city. Also called Little Amsterdam, Delft boasts of quaint canals and postcard-perfect sights.

Van Leeuwenhoek was no scientist by education. He had background in many things but science was not one of them. Coming from a family of brewers, he trained as cashier and bookkeeper, passed as land surveyor and used to own a haberdasher’s shop for a living.

It is in this city that Van Leeuwenhoek grew up and developed his interest for what we now call microorganisms.

It was by sheer curiosity then that he discovered the protozoa, was the first to observe and describe single-celled organisms and the red blood cell.

nhoek e Van Leeuwe h t of a c i pl Re microscope. ma n Rouwke Credits: Jeroe

This was all made possible with the use of his handcrafted microscope. He was said to have created at least 25 of these in his lifetime, of which only 9 survived. His microscopes were known for having hand-grounded lenses. Those that survived could magnify 275 times but it is also theorized that he owned microscopes that could magnify 500 times.

www.fems-microbiology.org

Among his other discoveries were: • the infusoria (protists in modern zoological classification), in 1674 • the bacteria, (e.g. large Selenomonads from the human mouth), in 1676 • the vacuole of the cell. • the spermatozoa in 1677. Van Leeuwenhoek had troubles with Dutch theologists about his practice. • the banded pattern of muscular fibers, in 1682. (list from Wikipedia) Even in his death bed, Van Leeuwenhoek kept on observing and discovering. It was said that before he died, he was still dictating the description of his disease to his daughter so it can later be sent to the Royal Society. Van Leeuwenhoek suffered from a rare disease of uncontrolled midriff movement that was later named Van Leeuwenhoek’s disease. O c t 2 0 11 | p a g e 3 / 6


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for completing the survey. The European Microbiology Forum survey was successfully completed by 756 respondents. The survey reveals a major interest in EMF in Europe. The final report is currently in progress. Stay tuned for the results!

Final survey

summary report

cretary- General: Se S M FE e th m ro f te No

Next FEMS Focus on rapid diagnostics in TB

The next issue of the FEMS Focus will address rapid diagnostics and point-of-care detection of tuberculosis (TB). FEMS Secretary-General Tone Tønjum finds this issue very timely since the World Health Organisation (WHO) just came up with the Global TB control report 2011 this month. Printed copies of the WHO report will be available at the end of October. p a g e 4 / 6 | O c t 2 0 11

WHO’s Stop TB Department just also recently published “new recommendations related to the use of IGRAs as a replacement of the tuberculin skin test (TST) to detect latent TB in low- and middle-income countries (the recommendations are not intended for high-income countries or to supersede existing national guidelines in these countries)”.

www.fems-microbiology.org


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The Italian Society for Agriculture, Food and Environmental Microbiology (Societa Italiana di Microbiologia Agro-Alimentare e Ambientale SIMTREAAA) recently became a full-fledged FEMS member society. SIMTREAAA has more than 200 members. The society was established in 1996 with the main purpose of “contributing to the development of science and its applications in agriculture, food and environmental microbiology.”

The SIMTREA website

resource that is at the basis of the development of In their letter of application, SIMTREAAA President modern bioeconomies.” Marco Gobbetti described its objectives as, “The society currently acts to promote research, sympo- The focus of the conference are on: sia, editorial initiatives and to create a network and 1. Water and salinity stresses forum on current issues concerning applied micro- 2. Adaptation to acid and alkaline stresses biology.” 3. Chemical stress: how microbes cope with oxidative stress, preservatives and pollutants The most recent initiative of SIMTREAAA is the 4. Symbiosis, associations, biocoenosis and cell“1st National Conference on Microbial Diversity: to-cell communication 2011-Environmental Stress and Adaptation” which 5. Adaptation to thermal stress and other nonis ongoing (October 26 - 28) as you read this article. conventional conditions 6. Exploitation of microbial diversity under multiThe rationale of the conference reads: ple stress factors “To establish a permanent scientific discussion frame focusing on Microbial Diversity, a central New FEMS Publications Manager Dr James Prosser issue in modern microbiology, and capable of at- delivers the Keynote Lecture on the first day of the tracting microbiologists and scientists from Europe conference. and the world with particular attention to the Mediterranean Basin. The conference will be repeated at three years intervals. The scheme of the conference is to delve into specific facets of microbial diversity in order to contribute to the improvement of the research and applications of this essential global

www.fems-microbiology.org

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DEADLINES 1 December 2011 15 June 2012 FEMS Research Fellowships FEMS Visiting Scientist Grants 15 December 2011 1 June 2012 FEMS National & Regional Congresses Grants 1 March 2012 FEMS Meeting Grants

(for meetings to be held in 2013)

1 April 2012 1 September 2012 FEMS Meeting Attendance Grants 1 October 2012 FEMS Advanced Fellowships

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FEMS-Sponsored Meetings November 2011 2011 Symposium of the Danish Microbiological Society 7 November, Denmark

Microbiology Tidbits... Newly Discovered Reservoir of Antibiotic Resistance Genes Oct. 20, 2011 — Waters polluted by the ordure of pigs, poultry, or cattle represent a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes, both known and potentially novel. These resistance genes can be spread among different bacterial species by bacteriophage, bacteria-infecting viruses, according to a paper in the October Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. (source: ASM) Leaf Litter Ants Advance Case for Rainforest Conservation in Borneo Oct. 20, 2011 — Studies of ant populations in Borneo reveal an unexpected resilience to areas of rainforest degraded by repeated intensive logging. A finding which conservationists hope will lead governments to conserve these areas rather than allow them to be cleared and used for cash crop plantations. (source: University of Leeds)

New Evidence for the Oldest Oxygen-Breathing Life On Land Oct. 19, 2011 — New research shows first evidence that the first oxygen-breathing bacteria occupied and thrived on land 100 million years earlier than previously thought. The researchers show that the most primitive form of aerobic-respiring life on land came into existence 2.48 billion years ago. (source: University of Alberta)

The FEMS Affiliates Letter is a production of FEMS Central Office

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Keverling Buismanweg 4, 2628 CL Delft, The Netherlands T: 0031 15 269 3920 | F: 0031 15 269 3921 | E: fems@fems-microbiology.org

The voice of microbiology in Europe. We advance and unify microbiology knowledge.

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FAL Oct2011