January 2016

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 18:00 - 18:15
Institution: 
Western Sydney University
Title: 

The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Faecal Bacterial Microbiome; Does Change in Diet Impact Community Structure?

Abstract: 

The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an obligate dietary specialist, due to its ability to overcome a difficult diet that is nutritionally challenging and toxic to many animals. Their diet is composed almost exclusively of Eucalyptus, which has evolved a wide range of plant secondary metabolites, many of which function as effective defenses against herbivory. 
Relatively little is known about the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome of koalas, despite their importance in extracting nutrients from a challenging diet. Thus, knowledge of microbes driving the gut microbiota of koalas ingesting specific diets would assist in development of targeted inoculations, given prior to translocation or, release after rehabilitation.
This study investigated the microbiome of 33 wild koalas from Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia, using DNA extracted from faecal samples collected from two time-points. We utilised the Illumina MiSeq platform together with the QIIME pipeline and PRIMER v6 to identify significant differences in the gut microbiota within one population of animals known to separate into two diet types. Analysis of cuticular n-alkane markers confirmed that 20 koalas were feeding on the preferred species Eucalyptus viminalis, and 13 on the less-preferred Eucalyptus obliqua. E. viminalis woodland at Cape Otway has experienced die-off caused by overbrowsing by koalas. Thus, some koalas have been forced into eucalypt species they would not normally consume. 
Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes dominated all faecal microbiomes at the phylum level, however, there were significant differences at genus level which produced distinct separation between the two groups that were highly correlated to diet, suggesting different microbial communities may enable koalas to extract valuable nutrients from their challenging diets. 
These results will direct further investigations into important microbial genes and gene functions which impact on digestive processes including nutrient extraction and detoxification, and health of koala populations consuming varied eucalypt diets throughout Australia.
 

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 18:15 - 18:30
Institution: 
University of New South Wales
Title: 

AHL affect biofilm formation in wastewater treatment process

Abstract: 

Quorum sensing (QS) signaling has been extensively studied in granules and single species populations. However, the knowledge regarding QS in biofilm formation on packing media has neither been experimentally explored nor theoretically addressed. We performed a long-term study to investigate the links between QS, organization and composition of complex microbial communities when biofilm developed on packing media. This study provides a foundation for investigation of QS effect on biofilm formation on packing media in many natural and engineered ecosystems, where it coordinates community behavior.

Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 19:00 - 19:45
Institution: 
University of Sydney and University of New South Wales
Title: 

MycoMimic and EndoSynBio

Abstract: 

"MycoMimic"
 
We are working to optimise the expression of the enzyme ethene monooxygenase (MO). This enzyme, natively found in Mycobacterium chubuense, performs the epoxide reaction converting ethylene to ethylene oxide. In its native host, the enzyme is near impossible to work with on an industrial scale. Consequently, we are trying to optimise expression of this enzyme in Escherichia coli. Due to the vast genetic differences between these two bacteria, we first tried to increase expression in Pseudomonas putida as it functioned as a stepping stone to E. Coli. If successful, this bacteria will be capable of performing biocatalysis (green chemical synthesis) and bioremediation (biological degradation of pollutants) reactions. As the first step towards this goal, we aimed to develop new algorithms for codon optimisation, using the Bacillus flavin-binding fluoroprotein as a model system. 
 
"EndoSynBio"
 
We are working to optimise the expression of the enzyme ethene monooxygenase (MO). This enzyme, natively found in Mycobacterium chubuense, performs the epoxide reaction converting ethylene to ethylene oxide. In its native host, the enzyme is near impossible to work with on an industrial scale. Consequently, we are trying to optimise expression of this enzyme in Escherichia coli. Due to the vast genetic differences between these two bacteria, we first tried to increase expression in Pseudomonas putida as it functioned as a stepping stone to E. Coli. If successful, this bacteria will be capable of performing biocatalysis (green chemical synthesis) and bioremediation (biological degradation of pollutants) reactions. As the first step towards this goal, we aimed to develop new algorithms for codon optimisation, using the Bacillus flavin-binding fluoroprotein as a model system. 
 

Join us at the Australian Museum the day after Australia Day!
Once we have the speaker line up finalised it will be posted online as usual. Looking forward to seeing you all!!!
 

A one-day meeting featuring the work of Microbiol
ogy Early CareerResearchers and PhD students from our local Universities
 
When
Friday January 29th, 2016 (9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.) 
 
Where
Lecture Theatre 026, 
The New Law School,
Camperdown campus, 
The University of Sydney