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Symbiosis refers to the partnership (usually long-term) that is established between two or more organisms. In microbiology, symbiotic relationships are often established between a microorganism and its host, and the partnership can be mutualistic or parasitic.
A synbiotic preparation of Lactobacillus plantarum and fructooligosaccharide was found to significantly reduce sepsis and infections of the lower respiratory tract in a trial involving rural Indian newborns.
Hosts vary in how dependent they are on their beneficial symbionts. Here, Fisher and colleagues analyse the results of symbiont-removal experiments from 106 symbioses in a phylogenetic context and show that host dependence is associated with symbiont transmission mode, function, and genome size.
Cycloclasticus bacterial symbionts of mussels and sponges that live in deep-sea gas and oil seeps are capable of using short-chain alkanes as their primary energy source, providing further insight into chemosynthetic symbioses.
Two new studies provide insights into the close association between Wolbachia spp. and their hosts; one shows plant-mediated transmission and the other the bacterial origin of a new host sex chromosome.