How to format your references using the mBio citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for mBio. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteDownload the output style file
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Foulger GR. 2006. Geophysics. Toward “supervolcano” technology. Science 313:768–769.
A journal article with 2 authors
Chan CE, Odde DJ. 2008. Traction dynamics of filopodia on compliant substrates. Science 322:1687–1691.
A journal article with 3 authors
Lecavelier des Etangs A, Vidal-Madjar A, Désert J-M. 2008. The origin of hydrogen around HD 209458b. Nature 456:E1; discussion E1-2.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Wang ET, Sandberg R, Luo S, Khrebtukova I, Zhang L, Mayr C, Kingsmore SF, Schroth GP, Burge CB. 2008. Alternative isoform regulation in human tissue transcriptomes. Nature 456:470–476.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Sahinoglu M. 2016. Cyber-Risk Informatics. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.
An edited book
2014. Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement: 21st European Conference, EuroSPI 2014, Luxembourg, June 25-27, 2014. Proceedings. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
A chapter in an edited book
de Asis ED, Li Y, Austin AJ, Leung J, Nguyen CV. 2010. Carbon Nanotube Atomic Force Microscopy with Applications to Biology and Electronics, p. 129–168. In Bhushan, B (ed.), Scanning Probe Microscopy in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for mBio.

Blog post
Hamilton K. 2017. We Have A Vaccine For Six Cancers; Why Are Less Than Half Of Kids Getting It? IFLScience. IFLScience.


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. 1987. Weather Satellites: Economies Available by Converging Government Meteorological Satellites. NSIAD-87-107. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Bardhoshi G. 2012. The Relationship Between Assignment of Non-Counseling Duties and Burnout Among Professional School Counselors. Doctoral dissertation, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
Saslow L. 2006. Route 110 Plan Worries Some Merchants. New York Times.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by sequential numbers in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (1).
This sentence cites two references (1, 2).
This sentence cites four references (1–4).

About the journal

Full journal titlemBio
ISSN (online)2150-7511

Other styles