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Gut bacteria in babies

Published: February 11th, 2013

Revised: February 11th, 2013

In a study just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), Dr. James Scott and colleagues at the University of Toronto, the University of Alberta and elsewhere investigated the bacterial make-up of faeces from 24 three-month-old babies and found that the way the babies were delivered (vaginal or C-section) and whether the babies are breast-fed has a significant effect on the microbes in their guts.

“Our findings are particularly timely given the recent affirmation of the gut microbiota as a “super organ” with diverse roles in health and disease, and the increasing concern over rising cesarean delivery and insufficient exclusive breastfeeding in Canada”, said Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj, who along with Dr. Scott are the principal investigators on the project.

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Don’t import mold!

Published: October 2nd, 2012

Revised: June 1st, 2017

Importing from overseas? Does your shipment of new products look a little worse for the wear? We can help. Sporometrics has a full range of expertise on testing biological contaminants on imported merchandise, evaluating clean-up strategies and assessing the suitability of merchandise for sale.
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Dr. Scott discusses the whiskey fungus in the New York Times

Published: September 3rd, 2012

Revised: October 15th, 2012

Baudoinia companiacensis is a hip, cool fungus that likes booze. It grows in places where there’s alcohol is in the air – around spirit maturation warehouses and even near bakeries – and in the process, it makes a nuisance of itself by turning stuff black.

At Sporometrics, we are the world experts on this interesting fungus: we named it, we were the first to figure out how to isolate it, and we’ve developed sophisticated methods to detect it in the environment. We are the only group in the world that can provide these testing services. We’ve also done a lot of research aimed at figuring out how and why it likes booze.

Recently our expertise with this fungus was tapped in relation to a series of legal cases involving residents around spirit warehouses fed up with the fungus blackening their propery. Dr. Scott was interviewed by the New York Times about the biology of Baudoinia and how alcohol is involved in its growth.

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Dr. Scott discusses house dust bacteria in NEW SCIENTIST and DISCOVER MAGAZINE

Published: April 25th, 2012

Revised: July 21st, 2014

IF YOU thought the bacteria that line our gut were pretty personal, think again. They influence our digestion, risk of disease, and even our behaviour. Now it seems we might be sharing these gut bugs with the people around us – via dust.

Dr. James Scott at the University of Toronto in Canada and his colleagues investigated the bacterial make-up of faeces from 20 three-month-old babies, which represents the bacteria in their gut flora. The group then compared the faecal bacteria with bugs found in dust samples collected from each baby’s home.

They found a significant overlap in bacterial communities in a baby’s faeces and dust from their home. This suggested that a baby may be sharing their gut bacteria with the environment and vice versa. Scott presented the findings at the International Human Microbiome Congress in Paris, France, last month.

Dr. Scott’s interview with NEW SCIENTIST explores the potential implications of dust-borne bacteria on the microbiome of the developing gut. A follow-up piece on this work also appeared in DISCOVER MAGAZINE.

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Dr. Summerbell on mould in DISCOVER MAGAZINE

Published: April 18th, 2012

Revised: April 26th, 2012

ASPERGILLUS NIGER is a common environmental fungus with a very interesting story. This black mold, “could probably be found on every table-top in the world,” says Richard Summerbell, research director of biotech Sporometrics in Toronto. It can cause everything from black fuzz on onion bulbs, to toenail infections, to painful and itchy swelling and discharge from the ears of children who stick dirty toys inside.

But A. niger, Summerbell points out, is also a workhorse of industry. For example, it can turn sugars into citric acid, the white powder that’s ubiquitous in foods, beverages, detergents, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. The fungus can also produce useful enzymes, such as alpha-galactosidase, the main ingredient in the anti-flatulence pillĀ Beano

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