Microbiology

MPI for for Marine Microbiology: Scientists unravel the mystery of marine methane oxidation

Researchers uncover how microorganisms on the ocean floor protect the atmosphere against methane – Microbiologists and geochemists from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, along with their colleagues from Vienna and Mainz, show that marine methane oxidation coupled to sulfate respiration can be performed by a single microorganism, a member of the ancient kingdom of the Archaea, and does not need to be carried out in collaboration with a bacterium, as previously thought. They published their discovery as an article in the renowned scientific journal Nature.


Picture: The enrichment of the microorganisms responsible for marine AOM, archaea in red and bacteria in green from the Isis Mud Volcano in the Mediterranean Sea has taken 8 years of continuous incubation. Without these cultures it would not have been possible to trace down the complex sulfur cycling involved in AOM. © Jana Milucka, MPI f. Marine Microbiology

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MPI for Neurobiology: Intestinal flora could trigger multiple sclerosis with special genetic predisposition

Beneficial intestinal bacteria are involved in the emergence of multiple sclerosis. The microorganisms of the intestine can activate immune cells and trigger the overreaction of the immune system. The researchers from the Max Planck institute discovered that genetically modified mice develop an inflammation in the brain similar to the human disease if they have normal bacterial intestinal flora. The findings suggest that in humans with the corresponding genetic predisposition, the essentially beneficial intestinal flora could act as a trigger for the development of multiple sclerosis.

Picture: Autoaggressive B-cells (green) in a lymph node close to the brain. The activation of the B-cells takes place in the germinal centres (blue) of the lymph node. The activated cells produce antibodies against the myelin layer in the brain, thus contributing to the occurrence of inflammatory reactions. © MPI f. Neurobiology Continue reading