a microbiology newsletter -july, 2021
A newsletter of, by, and for microbiologists. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved
Over 100 patients may be infected with TB from their bone grafts...

How can this be?
Helicobacter pylori
Friend or Foe?
Can H. pylori colonization offer some protection against disease?

Helicobacter pylori is an organism typically known as the culprit of painful stomach ulcers and severe abdominal pain, although there is now growing evidence which suggesting that there may be advantages to colonization by this acid-loving organism.

In several studies conducted during the 1990s and 2000s, correlations emerged between H. pylori colonization and reduced risk of several diseases or symptoms such as bacterial diarrhea, asthma, and allergies in children, as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and celiac disease.(1, 2, 3)

Many people are asymptomatically colonized with H. pylori and do not suffer adverse effects. In these instances, H. pylori may play a beneficial role and does not necessarily require eradication through treatment.

The menacing complications caused by H. pylori infection described on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website are stomach bleeding, perforation of the stomach wall, ulcers blocking food from leaving the stomach, and stomach cancer.(4) Despite these complications, research suggests that there is no health benefit to eliminating H. pylori when a child is asymptomatically colonized with the organism.(5) In a study by Monajemzadeh, et. al., H. pylori prevented bacterial diarrhea in children.(6) In 2008, Chen and Blaser showed reduced asthma and allergies in patients colonized by H. pylori.(7) Based on these and other publications, non-invasive H. pylori colonization appears to be a beneficial organism of the gut microbiome.

The symptoms and diseases caused by invasive H. pylori can be severe and are important to detect and diagnose in patients presenting illness. However, this organism appears to be important to the human microbiome by providing an immunity boost to other diseases and allergies.

More research is needed in this area to determine whether the presence of this organism could prevent or eliminate some types of disease states. Presently, the eradication of H. pylori does not seem necessary for asymptomatically colonized individuals, and may even prove to reduce the beneficial effects.

by Anna Klavins
R&D Microbiologist, Hardy Diagnostics

Works cited:
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Can Stevia Disrupt
Our Gut Microbiome?

Anti-Quorum Sensing Activity of Stevia Extract May Harm Our Intestinal Microbiome

Quorum sensing is the ability for cells to communicate with one another using chemical signals to coordinate gene expression and behavior. The mechanism is found in a variety of cell types, and quorum sensing bacteria can produce and release chemicals which act as signaling molecules. These signaling molecules are called autoinducers (AI), which can effectively increase or decrease in concentration as a function of cellular density.1 Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria have the ability to use quorum sensing communication to regulate an array of physiological activities, including symbiosis, virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic production, motility, sporulation, and biofilm formation.1 Research shows quorum sensing can occur both within and between bacterial species, and the effects of chemical signaling AIs can even provoke responses from host cells.

Stevia rebaudianna is a South American plant and member of the chrysanthemum family. Prior to its recent popularity as an alternative sweetener for foods and beverages, it had been used for centuries by indigenous peoples as a hypoglycemic agent and sweetener. Stevia contains several steviol glycosides and its hypoglycemic properties act to enhance insulin secretion and utilization; its action on glucose regulation is not well known, but it’s known to prevent high blood glucose levels after a meal. However, stevia is believed to disrupt gut microbiota, similar to saccharin, but its mechanism of action was previously unknown.

Recently, research into the mechanism of steviol glycosides on bacterial quorum sensing was explored. Researchers from Israel and Cyprus examined the potential for anti-quorum sensing activity of stevia extract due to its popularity and claims as a natural and safe dietary sweetener.2 Mammals cannot breakdown steviol glycosides because they lack the enzymes to do so; thus, they rely on gut microbiota in the lower intestines to convert stevia glycosides into steviol. There are numerous studies documenting how gut microbiota act on steviol glycosides, but it is not well understood how glycosides effect the gut microbiome. Therefore, the team set out to evaluate the effects of stevia extract and two stevia glycosides on the AHL-dependent bacterial communication system found in Gram-negative bacteria.

N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) are the most common class of AIs found in the cytoplasm, where they function as transcription factors to regulate gene function. Very recently, the molecular structure of one specific AI responsible for the pathogenesis of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) was discovered, so it is well understood that AIs have the potential to regulate critical genes that impact human hosts. The Israeli and Cypriot researchers used a computational approach and in-silico analysis to determine the impact to quorum sensing modulation. They found the impact of stevia varied among bacterial strains and that steviol may act through competitive inhibition or allosteric modulation to regulate gut microbial quorum sensing.2

Their study showed that exposure to steviol glycosides or their derivatives appeared to interfere with the AHL-mediated bacterial communication network and negatively impact the gut microbial balance.2 Their assumption took into consideration that changes in gut microbial phyla are strongly associated with certain health complications. Consequently, more research is needed to determine if there is direct or indirect antagonism or whether there is a specific threshold concentration of steviol that negatively affects the gut microbiome.

The results of such research may prove useful for individuals with inflammatory bowel disease or obesity, where gut microbiome alterations may have far-reaching consequences.

by Kerry Pierce, Design and Development Microbiologist



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COVID-19 Vaccines
What are the ingredients?

Do the COVID-19 vaccines really contain mercury, fetal cells, chips, or aluminum?

Many false claims such as these have been made on the internet and social media regarding the COVID-19 vaccine ingredients. Listed below are the actual ingredients of each of the vaccines as published by the FDA.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Ingredients(2):

  • messenger RNA
  • lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide,1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
  • potassium chloride
  • monobasic potassium phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
  • sucrose.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Ingredients(3):

  • messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
  • lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]),
  • tromethamine
  • tromethamine hydrochloride
  • acetic acid
  • sodium acetate trihydrate
  • sucrose

Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Ingredients(1):

  • recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the sars-CoV-2 spike protein
  • citric acid monohydrate
  • trisodium citrate dihydrate
  • ethanol
  • 2-hydroxypropylβ-cyclodextrin (hbcd)
  • polysorbate-80
  • sodium chloride

  1. https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download
  2. https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download#page=2
  3. https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download#page=2
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He had to give up being a Taxi driver...
there was too much talking going on behind his back.


  • No matter how hard you push the envelope, it will always be stationery.

  • Every day I walk outside, and I get hit by the same bike…it’s a vicious cycle!

  • I bought a wig for only a dollar yesterday…it’s a small price toupee!

  • Did you know the capitol of Ireland is the fastest growing city in the world…it’s Dublin every day!

  • If you clean out your vacuum cleaner, does that make you a vacuum cleaner?

Seeing is Believing?
How many human faces can you find hidden in this painting?
Scroll to bottom for some hints...

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

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Gram Stain Tutorial

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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.

How it's Made...
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Need a memory stimulant?

Try this one!...
Work like you don't need the money,

Love like you've never been hurt,
and Dance like you do when nobody's watching.

Wisdom to Ponder...
John Glenn

1921 ~ 2016

Glenn was the third American to explore outer space and the first American to orbit the earth in 1962. He was a combat fighter pilot in WWII and Korea, also served as a US Senator from Ohio for 25 years. At age 77, he flew in the space shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person ever to fly in outer space.

"The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel."

"I don't know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets."

"I was hooked on aviation, made model airplanes, and never thought I would be able to fly myself. It cost too much. But then World War II came along and changed all that."

"I liked flying, when I got into it, loved it. And I found I was very good at it. I'm not modest about the fact that I was a good pilot."

"We're not up there in space just to joyride around. We're up there to do things that are of value to everybody right here on Earth."

"I'm not interested in my legacy. I made up a word: 'live-acy.' I'm more interested in living."

I just bought a log cabin from Ikea!
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