|The authors may have a conflict of interest with the opossum...|
Credit: Motley et al. J. Nat. Prod.
...To obtain the large number of microbiome bacteria from diverse mammalian sources that we required for our screening process, we used an opportunistic sampling approach to explore roadkill (animals killed as a result of unintentional vehicular collisions), which is an underutilized source of microbiome bacteria.
In our case, we focused on fresh (recently deceased) roadkill comprising mammals that are native or naturalized to central Oklahoma. Roadkill offers a convenient route to accessing microbiome bacteria since it (i) is abundant in many areas, (ii) presents the opportunity for sampling diverse animals and their associated bacteria across a broad geographical region, (iii) alleviates concerns over the trapping and testing of live animals since only carcasses are sampled, and (iv) offers the possibility to conduct chronologically dependent testing of specific animal populations over extended periods. In this paper, we present the development and application of our mammalian-microbiome-derived natural product discovery pipeline (Figure 1) and present data for several new and known depsipeptides obtained from opossum-associated bacteria.
...Opportunistic sampling of mammalian roadkill took place over a two-year period near the University of Oklahoma campus (Norman, OK, USA). Carcasses deemed fresh (generally determined to have been struck by motor vehicles no more than 10 h prior to sampling) were selected, and those with one or more intact orifices (i.e., mouth, nose, ear, eye, and rectum) or gastrointestinal tracts were sampled roadside with sterile swabs....Imagine the undergraduate who had to sample the intact orifice...
In all seriousness, congratulations to Motley et al. for interesting science and a novel source!
1. Motley, J.L.; Stamps, B.W.; Mitchell, C.A.; Thompson, A.T.; Cross, J.; You, J.; Powell, D.R.; Stevenson, B.S.; Cichewicz, R.H. "Opportunistic Sampling of Roadkill as an Entry Point to Accessing Natural Products Assembled by Bacteria Associated with Nonanthropoidal Mammalian Microbiomes." J. Nat. Prod. ASAP DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b00772