Category Archives: Microbiology


A fermenter from the 1980s, used to produce insulin, at the National Museum of American History, D.C.: Closeup:

Posted in Microbiology, Museums etc. | 2 Comments

Thoughts On ASM Microbe 2016

And other possibly related things as well, along with various ruminations on my part. Let’s begin: 1. E. coli ST131-fimH30, the clone (‘MLST type’) that causes many ESBL and CRE infections (the only beta-lactams that work against ESBLs are carbapenemes, … Continue reading

Posted in Meetings, Microbiology

Yes, We Can Isolate Most Human Gut Microbes

A long-standing canard that really bothers me is the notion that most (“99%”) human gut microbes are unculturable–that is, we can’t grow them in the lab. As I noted a long time ago, that’s not the case: This false statement … Continue reading

Posted in Microbiology, Microbiome

The Great Agar Crisis of 2015

This doesn’t bode well (boldface mine): Microbiology’s most important reagent is in short supply, with potential consequences for research, public health and clinical labs around the world. Agar — the seaweed-derived, gelatinous substance that biologists use to culture microbes — … Continue reading

Posted in Bidness, Microbiology | 1 Comment

New IRB Regulations Could Be Really Stupid

And they will make microbiological research much harder. For those who don’t know what an IRB is (a perfectly reasonable state of affairs), it stands for Institutional Review Board, and it is the entity (actually, entities plural–most universities and large … Continue reading

Posted in Fucking Morons, Microbiology | 2 Comments


Tuesday morning, the Washington Post (at least in the online version) had a story about FDA action against a company whose duodenoscopes were very difficult to decontaminate and which have been linked to CRE, carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, bacteria that are incredibly … Continue reading

Posted in Antibiotics, Fucking Morons, Microbiology, News Media | 1 Comment

Genetically Engineered Yogurt

And cheese too! OH NOES! (boldface mine): Scientists didn’t know enough about the function of CRISPR and Cas enzymes for Koonin to make a detailed hypothesis. But his thinking was provocative enough for a microbiologist named Rodolphe Barrangou to test … Continue reading

Posted in Food, Microbiology, Viruses | 1 Comment