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a culture of service…

September, 2012

© 2012, Hardy Diagnostics,

all rights reserved



How can I identify

Corynebacterium jeikeium


C. jeikeium

can be the cause of sepsis, meningitis, peritonitis, and endocarditis; especially in immumo-compromised patients.

Hardy’s RSU Broth performs a rapid sucrose and urea test to differentiate it from other gram-positive, catalase-positive rods. The test takes only three hours.

RSU Broth

Click here

to see the instructions.

Click here

for ordering information.

Do you have a MicroTip to share with your fellow MicroBytes readers?

Click here.

Do you test liquids?


for Membrane Filtration
Sartorius membranes
Hardy Diagnostics offers a complete selection of manifolds, pumps, membrane filters,

funnels and culture media for filtration microbiology.

Sartorius apparatus

Click here

to request a free catalog or to request more information.

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A cranial work-out.


here and

feel the burn!


“Teddy Bear”

Teddy Bear

Here’s how the term “Teddy Bear” came into being.

In 1902, Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt went on a hunting trip during which members of the party tied a bear cub to a tree and invited the President to finish the animal off. Roosevelt refused because he felt it was unsporting. The story got out and the next day political cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew Roosevelt refusing to shoot a cute, defenseless bear.

Teddy bear cartoon
The story was charming, and Brooklyn entrepreneur Morris Michtom asked his wife to make two enormous bears for his shop. The bears were adorable, and had black buttons sewn on for eyes. Michtom nicked named them Teddy’s Bears. They drew excited inquiries from customers and, in 1906, he went into production of the bears as toys, after securing permission from Roosevelt to do so.

However, Michtom’s wasn’t the only company in the world making stuffed bears. The Steiff jointed bear was being made in Germany at the same time.  As the popularity of the teddy bear grew, the Steiff company adopted the term for their animals.

~ ~ ~

For ringworm ID


Derm Duet

The Derm duet was formulated specifically for Dermatophytes. One side produces a distinct color change, the other side stimulates the rapid production of characteristic spores for microscopic examination.


the catalog listing for the individually wrapped square plate.


the catalog listing for the traditional round biplate.


the instructions for use (IFU) for skin culturing methods.


a sample pack.

~ ~ ~

Think about it…

The Thinker

*  If horrific is akin to horrible, why isn’t terrific akin to terrible?

*  I

f nothing sticks to teflon how does teflon stick to the pan?


Whose cruel idea was it to put an “s” in the word lisp?


If air travel is so safe, why do they call it a “terminal?”

*  Do disabled toilets work as well as ordinary toilets?

* * *

Wisdom to ponder…

Milton Friedman

Milton Friedman

1912 ~ 2006

Nobel Prize winning economist, author, and university professor.



described him as “the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it.”

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

“We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes non-work.”

“I’m in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal.”

“So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.”

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”

“Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.”

“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”

“Inflation is taxation without legislation.”

“Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself.”

The greatest advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science and literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government.

“The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way.”

“Universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.”

“Columbus did not seek a new route to the Indies in response to a majority directive.”

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

* * * * *

We crave your comments…


How are we doing?

Are you a Hardy customer? If so, we need your help in assessing our performance.

At Hardy Diagnostics, we are fanatics about implementing Continuous Improvement. Would you please take a moment to answer two questions?

It should only take a minute or two and would be an immense help to us in honing our skills.

Provide some feedback…


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Did you know?

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Hardy Diagnostics…

  • Is celebrating its 32nd year of serving microbiologists.
  • Is

    ISO 13485

    certified for the manufacture of medical devices to give you confidence in our products.
  • Offers you its technical manual,


    , which contains over 4,500 pages of information regarding microbiology.
  • Maintains a worldwide network of over 40


Send a

message to the president


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Dubious conciliation…


“OK…so I agree with you.
Now we are both wrong.”

Micro Musings..

Cartoon 9-2012

Case histories from Dr. Joe Dipersio

DiPersio - small

Stubborn Finger Infection

Infected Finger

Can you diagnose this correctly?

A 42 year old male with a previous history of diabetes mellitus and poor medication compliance presented with pain and drainage from a nodular non-erythematous distal left finger lesion, from which purulent material could be expressed (photo above).

He reportedly kept the lesion covered and noted that it would occasionally dry up only to reappear. The digit was not swollen and he had full range of motion.

The lesion persisted for two months without progression. No other lesions developed, and he was afebrile, without evidence of regional lymphadenopathy.

He was employed as a restaurant dishwasher and denied hunting, fishing, and exposure to soil or pets. Purulent material expressed from the lesion and tissue samples were sent for culture and histopathology.

Based on preliminary laboratory test results the patient received a single dose of Amphotericin B and was taken to surgery for extensive debridement of the lesion. The patient refused further therapy and his finger healed post-operatively.

However, a recurrence of the lesion at the same site three months later was treated successfully with a six-week course of Amphotericin B.

Cultures of the expressed material and debrided tissue yielded moderate growth of creamy white, yeast-like colonies on Sabouraud’s dextrose agar incubated at 30 deg. C for three days (seen below).



lactophenol cotton blue stain

(below) of a colony suggested the diagnosis.

LCB Stain

So what is it? Bacteria…Fungi… or ???

Find out

here.  You might be surprised!

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Better than a Stradivarius?

Fungus treated violin

out-performs the Strad

Strad violin


Swiss researcher has found a way to treat wood with a specific type of fungus that recreates the superb tonal qualities of the famous Stradivarius violin from the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.

Francis Schwarze uses two types of fungi

Physisporinus vitreus


Xylaria longipes

, in a nine month treatment, which breaks down the wood and reduces the density and increases the elasticity of the Norway Spruce and Sycamore wood that is used to make fine violins.

After the fungal treatment, the new violins are gassed with ethylene oxide to kill the fungi and halt the digestion process.

The results were so successful that his new “mycowood” violin actually won a blind test performance against the famous Stradivarius violin, which can fetch a price of over $2 million.  “A violin made of wood treated with the fungus has a warmer, more rounded sound,” explains the inventor, Francis Schwarze

* * *


Microbial alchemy

Growing Gold

in the Lab

Gold from bacteria


ould you like to make a little extra money in your spare time at your lab?

Two researchers from the University of Michigan have been working with a type of bacteria to convert gold chloride into pure gold (99.9% pure).

Gold chloride is an extremely toxic compound found in nature that would normally kill any bacteria that comes in contact with it. However, the bacteria,

Cupriavidus metallidurans

, is not only resistant, but metabolizes the toxic compound to release pure gold.

C. metallidurans

is a non spore-forming bacillus that was renamed from

Ralstonia metallidurans

and previously known as

Ralstonia eutropha


Alcaligenes eutrophus.

This species plays a vital role, together with the species

Delftia acidovorans

, in the formation of

gold nuggets

, by precipitating metallic gold from a solution of gold (III) chloride, a compound highly toxic to most other microorganisms.

“This is neo-alchemy. Every part, every detail of the project is a cross between modern microbiology and alchemy,” the inventor, Adam Brown, said. His lab produced gold nuggets within one week of using this new technique.

Gold 2

This is the apparatus that created gold nuggets from a toxic substance found in the environment.

However, before you rush out and assemble your gold making factory in your lab, please know that gold chloride is every bit as rare as pure gold.


the video.

* * *

Optical oddities…

Opt Illusion 9-12

Can you find the hidden tiger?

Give up? Scroll down to the bottom of this column.

“Believe half of what you see

and none of what you hear.”

~ Marvin Gaye

Read the survey results…

What is your favorite

type of food?

Food choice

Have you ever noticed that microbiologists like to cook? and like to eat too?
Tell us about your favorite…
Italian? Chinese? or ?

Find out

what your

fellow MicroBytes readers

had to say…

Take the MicroBytes Survey…

Should it be mandatory

that health care workers

get a flu shot?

Flu shot

About 80% of physicians and 60% of nurses get an annual flu shot.

Art Kaplan, PhD at the University of New York, Medical Ethics Division says, “I think that every hospital and every nursing home should require as a condition of employment that you show that you got a flu shot every year. Ethically, your first obligation is to do no harm. If you are there to do no harm and that is your primary obligation, then you cannot put your personal choice or your personal reluctance to get that shot above doing harm.”

Do you agree?

Share your opinion

with the MicroBytes readers…


Rubes 9-2012

Find more

of Leigh Rubin’s cartoon humor.

Dog - adoring

Dear God…

Please make me the kind of person

my dog thinks I am.



“If you don’t read the newspaper,

you’re uninformed.

If you read the newspaper,

you’re misinformed.”

~ Mark Twain ~

Contaminated Spinal Injections

As of October 8th, 2012 there have been seven deaths and 91 cases of meningitis due to contaminated vials of corticosterioids used for injection into the spinal column for pain management.  The nine states where the cases have occurred are: Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota and Ohio. The vials, containing methylprednisolone acetate, were pr

epared by a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts

. Three lots, contaminated with the fungus Aspergillus, were sent to 75 clinics in 23 states.


Dr. Ben Park, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains that while signs of other kinds of meningitis occur quickly,

symptoms of fungal meningitis

may be more slow to appear — incubation time may be up to four weeks long. Symptoms may include headache, feeling nausea, numbness, having a stiff neck, weakness and problems speaking.

Aspergillus culture

Benjamin Franklin 2

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

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Answer to “Optical Oddities” above:

The words “THE HIDDEN TIGER” can be found in the stripes on the tiger.