I have long enjoyed the journal Nature Microbiology, but the August 2016 issue surpasses what I have read before. Practically every entry is it standout. I will mention only a few but encourage all to have a look.
Several consortia of authors present the 2016 Microbial Olympics, reporting on such typically microbial events as the Marathon, Canoe slalom, (Biogeochemical) cycling, Synchronized Swarming, Fencing, Equestrian, Triathlon, Long jump, and the Closing ceremony. Saves you a trip to Rio.
Seldom have I been so thoroughly seduced by a book review that I can't wait to read the book. Silvia Bulgheresi's critique of Ed Yong's new I Contain Multitudes accomplishes just that. I don't remember reading a more exciting or better written review. The book better live up to it. A revealing interview with Yong by Andrew Jermy accompanies it.
Magic happens, as in strains of E. coli (constructed by Mercier, Kawai, and Errington) that lack the nearly omnipresent and rousing division protein FtsZ. What do they look like? Well, like »coli-flowers«. That is, they make branched syncytial multicellular aggregates that look like nothing you've ever seen. Don't miss the videos, especially No. 8. A commentary by Piet de Boer neatly places this finding in the context of other morphological varieties exhibited by E. coli cells.
A letter by U. Kutschera goes over Haeckel's 1866 tree of life, where bacteria, then called Monera, find themselves on a new kingdom, albeit as "most simple organisms, without structure, homogeneous pieces of plasma." They were called Bacteria for the first time in 1872, thanks to Ferdinand Cohn. The Archaea had to wait for Woese.
"Everything is everywhere but the environment selects," a famous dictum by Baas Becking (sometimes misattributed to M. Beijerinck) is examined in the light of the current glut of microbiomes. Does it hold up? Well, sort of, as according to a study by Gonnella et al. of the microbes in marine hydrothermal vents. Peter Girguls writes a fine commentary.
Is more of multi-omics what's needed? Vilanova and Porcar posit that cultivation techniques are as important as ever, if not more so. They say: “As an example of ‘trees hidden by the forest’, biological interactions among members of a microbial community often remain buried beneath the massive multi-omic datasets.“ Omics, they suggest, add complexity. They further propose that, “In plain words, the challenge is to reduce complexity to improve understanding.“