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
Chapman T. 2004. Breathing life into chemistry. Nature 430:948–949.
A journal article with 2 authors
Cushing MC, Anseth KS. 2007. Materials science. Hydrogel cell cultures. Science 316:1133–1134.
A journal article with 3 authors
Gustafson JL, Lim D, Miller SJ. 2010. Dynamic kinetic resolution of biaryl atropisomers via peptide-catalyzed asymmetric bromination. Science 328:1251–1255.
A journal article with 4 or more authors
Saikawa Y, Hashimoto K, Nakata M, Yoshihara M, Nagai K, Ida M, Komiya T. 2004. Pigment chemistry: the red sweat of the hippopotamus. Nature 429:363.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Heuer A. 2012. Der perfekte Tipp. Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany.
An edited book
2015. Unexplained Infertility: Pathophysiology, Evaluation and Treatment. Springer, New York, NY.
A chapter in an edited book
Burton B, Lepp M, Morrison M, O’Toole J. 2015. Negative Leaders in School: Extending Ideas from the DRACON Project, p. 59–78. In Lepp, M, Morrison, M, O’Toole, J (eds.), Acting to Manage Conflict and Bullying Through Evidence-Based Strategies. Springer International Publishing, Cham.

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
Luntz S. 2014. Humpback Teamwork Caught on Camera. 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. 2002. Executive Office of the President: Analysis of Mandated Report on Key Information Technology Areas. GAO-02-779R. 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
Kino MY. 2015. My Concierge MD, Inc. a business plan. Doctoral dissertation, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Kelly C. 2013. Texas Film: It’s Not Just About Slackers Anymore. 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