a microbiology newsletter -june, 2021
A newsletter of, by, and for microbiologists. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved
What medieval brew was recently found to be effective against MRSA?
Who Made the First Microscope?
If you guessed Leuwenhoek, you would have to guess again.

It was Zacharias Janssen, the Dutch inventor of the compound microscope. Zacharias and his father Hans worked as spectacle makers in the 1590s, which assisted in their knowledge of lens crafting for the manufacture of microscopes.

Their primitive compound microscope was two and a half feet long with a lens at either end that magnified only between three to nine times the size of the object. Unfortunately, it had no mounting system and was meant to be used by hand; imagine taking a piece of equipment to the work bench the size of a telescope!

The original microscope did not last long and was only described in letters by Dutch diplomat William Boreel. A subsequent model from 1595 resides in the Middleburg museum in The Netherlands. While this was a very basic model with lower magnification power, this paved the way for Antony van Leuwenhoek’s simple microscope and Robert Hooke’s compound microscope. The Englishman, Hooke was the first to describe a microorganism in 1665, namely the fungus Mucor. Leuwenhoek, also from the Netherlands, was the first to observe and describe bacteria ("animalcules" as he named them) in the 1670s.

The testimony of Janssen's son and Boreel has been questioned as to its accuracy. Unfortunately the records from Jasssen's home town, Middleburg, were lost due to intensive bombing by the Nazis in 1940 - so even Janssen's year of birth and death remain in question.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4
The last Petri Dish Rack
you will ever have to buy!
Hardy's new DuraRack is constructed to last a life-time. Stop using brittle acrylic racks that must often be replaced. DuraRack is made of tough steel with a durable epoxy coating.

ASM's Agar Art Contest

Living bacterial art
on a Petri Dish

Ever since 2015, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) has been conducting an annual competition for the best Agar Art. These creative art pieces are made of various species of bacteria streaked on a Petri plate. The one pictured at the top of this article was the first place winner of the 2020 contest, and is entitled "The Gardener." It is entirely made up of different species of Candida on a chromogenic agar plate. The Agar artist is Joanne Dungo from Northridge Hospital in California. The photo to the left is the second place winner and was created from E. coli, S. aureus, and E. faecalis. The Agar artist is Balaram Khamari from India.

Click here to see more Agar Art winners. Want to express your artistic talent on a Petri plate? The ASM is taking submissions in September.


The Autof ms 1000
With the most extensive database of microorganisms

Hardy's new MALDI-TOF is now available for research use.

  • Database of approximately 5,000 species created with over 15,000 strains!

  • View a short introductory video

Will More
COVID Variants
Although of
great concern,
vaccination will help

When will the pandemic end? How many more COVID-19 waves will the U.S. go through? Will we go back to “normal” in the fall? All these questions depend largely on one factor: the epidemiology of the variants.

As the virus spreads around the world, variant strains have emerged. Some variants are more infectious and spread rapidly; they show an increase in transmissibility. Other variants are more successful at evading the immune system; they show an increase in infectiousness. Variants with these characteristics have caused massive waves of COVID-19 from Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom – and now India. There are currently five variants of concern (1).
These variants have several interesting modifications to the spike protein when compared to other closely related variants. The spike protein projects from the spherical viral particle ready to cling on to unsuspecting cells that have the ACE2 receptor.(2)

Research led by Dr. Bing Chen, PhD, at Boston Children’s Hospital, analyzed how the structure of the spike protein changes when the amino acid aspartic acid is mutated to a glycine.

When Dr. Chen and colleagues imaged the mutant spike protein, the authors noted that this particular mutation “prevented premature disassociation…effectively increasing the number of spikes and enhancing the infectivity for membrane fusion.” As Dr. Chen further explained, “Say the original virus has 100 spikes…Because of the shape instability; you may have just 50% of them functional. In the G614 variants, you may have 90% that are functional, so even though they do not bind as well, the chances are greater that you will have infection.”(5)

The spike protein is also the basis of current COVID-19 vaccines, which were designed to generate an immune response against it. Furthermore, if the spike protein continues to mutate, this can affect diagnostic detection, therapeutic treatment, and/or the body’s immune response which could lead to an increase in unique COVID-19 variant outbreak clusters. (3)

The potential for global viral mutation increases with the frequency of circulation in human and animal populations. Therefore, reducing transmission using established disease control measures to stop the spread of new variants remains key–good hygiene (especially hand hygiene), mask wearing, physical distancing, and good ventilation. Vaccination on a global scale in a timely manner is also necessary to prevent the emergence of new variants. Current studies show that vaccine efficacy against severe, critical, or fatal disease is very high at 97.4% against most known variants.(4) As more people are vaccinated, the circulation of COVID-19 is expected to decrease; therefore, leading to fewer opportunities for mutations to arise and less chance for the evolution of new variants.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

By: Francisco Pinon, R&D Microbiologist
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I heard the new body shop in town is highly wreck-a-mended!

~ Ancient orators tended to Babylon.

~ Dishonest golfers don’t play the fairway.

~That cheese doesn’t belong to you. It’s nacho cheese.

~My theory on inertia has no momentum.

~In libraries….Shhhhh happens.

~ I'll take care of my procrastination issues...just you wait and see!

Seeing is Believing?
How many animals can you find hidden in this painting?
Scroll to bottom for the answer...

"Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see"
~ Edgar Allen Poe

More Supplies to Keep You Safe
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Hardy's nasal, mid-turbinate swabs are ideal for COVID and flu specimen collection. The stopper prevents over insertion. Nylon flocked swab tip ensures maximum recovery and release. Pediatric size also available.
Lab Coats

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Sanitizing Wipes

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Dehydrated Media

Hardy manufactures a complete line of powdered media. It is conveniently packaged in five different configurations ready for export.
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MBL Kwiksitks
QC Organisms

Hardy offers a complete line of qualitative and quantitative freeze dried organisms. Check out our complete catalog!

Rapid Test Methods

Check out our mini catalog on rapid test kits. You'll see many "hard to find" products that will save you time and money!
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CryoSavers for long term storage

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Hardy's chromogenic plate for the detection of carbapenem resistant bacteria makes identification rapid and inexpensive. Request samples here.


This will get the
ol' cranial cogs moving!...

Bread is a lot like the sun...

It rises in Yeast
and sets in the Waist

Wisdom to Ponder...
Bob Dylan

American singer-songwriter born in 1941.
Often considered the greatest songwriter of all time, Bob Dylan has a career that spans over 60 years.

"Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain."

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”

“I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me.”

“Don't criticize what you can't understand.”

“He who is not busy being born is busy dying.”

“People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.”

“I think women rule the world and that no man has ever done anything that a woman either hasn't allowed him to do or encouraged him to do.”

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”

“You can never be wise and be in love at the same time.”

“If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them.”

“How many times must a man look up before he can see the sky?
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have
before he can hear people cry?
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.”
* * *
"In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall succeed in our aims: the improvement of mankind."

Rosalind Franklin
English chemist whos work led to the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Have you ever noticed that the word "Queue" is just a "Q" followed by four silent letters?

You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD-40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape.

Increasing your protection...

How Zinc Ionophores can effectively fight COVID-19

References for utilizing Vitamin D and Zinc supplementation for the adjunct therapy
and prevention of COVID-19.

During our 41 years of serving the microbiology community, we have continually aimed to provide the utmost in "a culture of service" for our valued customers. As a 100% employee owned company, we have even more incentive to please our customers as best we possibly can every day. Do you have a suggestion, comment, or question? Please contact me here.

Jay Hardy, CLS, SM (NRCM)
CEO of Hardy Diagnostics