a microbiology newsletter - october, 2021
A newsletter of, by, and for microbiologists. Copyright 2021, rights reserved
Did you know that Hardy Diagnostics was the first to introduce Chromogenic Media to America in 1996?

Chromogenic media allows the microbiologist to make identifications based on colony color. The principle involves a carbohydrate molecule in the media that is bound to a colorless chromogen. When a specific bacterial enzyme cleaves the bond, the chromogen turns color, thus creating color throughout the bacterial colony.

Want to see the complete list? Just type "HardyCHROM" in the search bar here.

Interested in trying out any of our HardyCHROM plates? Contact your account rep here for evaluation samples.

HardyCHROM Plates

chromo plate
HC MRSA 48 hours
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.

Can you control Rheumatoid Arthritis by diet and gut microbes?
The discovery of a cause, as well as treatment, for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) may involve our commensal gut bacteria.

Millions of adults suffering from RA experience chronic pain, chronic inflammation, and often severe functional disability of the joints. Onset in older populations is a well-known risk factor, and RA is three times as likely in women.(1)

Many anecdotes of restrictive diets alleviating the severity of arthritic symptoms inspired scientific inquiry. A 13-month long study evaluating clinical variables such as pain, swelling, and grip strength after switching to a plant-based diet was performed on RA patients. The controlled, single-blind trial demonstrated some patients placed on a plant-based diet had positive effects on clinical variables.(2)

A particularly interesting factor is the genetic component of RA. The disease occurs predominantly in individuals expressing HLA-DR1 or HLA-DR4, proteins related to immune function. The human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system or complex is a composite of genes on chromosome 6 in humans which encode cell-surface proteins responsible for the regulation of the immune system. These proteins found on the surface of the HLA system are also known as the human version of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) found in many animals. These HLA proteins are found on the surface of dendritic cellsmononuclear phagocytes, some endothelial cellsthymic epithelial cells, and B cells, and are instrumental in initiating an immune response. Researchers discovered a common amino acid sequence found in both HLA-DR1/4, thus named the "shared epitope."

Investigations into the ‘shared epitope’ demonstrated potential cross-reactivity with Proteus hemolysin. Serological studies showed rabbits injected with Human HLA-DR4 lymphocytes produced sera with specificity against Proteus mirabilis and Proteus vulgaris.(3) Another sequence from type XI collagen found in joints was shown to resemble the urease enzyme produced by Proteus. In the diagram above you can see the similarity in protein structure between joint collagen and Proteus urease, which presumably confuses the immune system.

The evidence paints RA as a case of molecular mimicry; Proteus inducing an autoimmune response in at-risk individuals.

Bacterial molecular mimicry is not uncommon. It is infamous for its role in rheumatic fever, where anti-Streptococcal antibodies target antigens in the heart.(4) It is likely that the immune response to Proteus, particularly in HLA-DR1/4-positive individuals, is behaving in a similar way. This answer can also explain the female susceptibility to RA, as women are more likely to acquire Proteus mirabilis-related UTIs than men.

One question remains: How could diet alleviate arthritic symptoms?

In the plant-based diet study, antibody activity measured in the RA patients showed a significant drop in anti-Proteus mirabilis IgG for those who switched to the plant-based diet. The decline was more noticeable in patients who responded to the diet, and it was present just a few months after the plant-based diet began. From this we can infer that the plant-based diet quickly lowers the population of Proteus in the gut of RA patients, therefore reducing the autoimmune attack.

Take some time to evaluate your diet; the wrong one could take a toll on your health!

By Manuel Escalera
Performance Studies Technician, Hardy Diagnostics

References: 1, 2, 3, 4 
"Ponzi Scheme"
A Ponzi scheme is one that fraudulently lures investors by paying profits to earlier investors with funds gathered from more recent investors.

In the 1920s, Charles Ponzi, a Boston businessman, carried out such a scheme and became well-known throughout the United States because of the huge amount of money that he took in due to his fraudulent postage stamp investment scam. This notoriety eventually led to this type of scheme being named after him.

This type of scheme was also previously described in two novels by Charles Dickens; his 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit and his 1857 novel Little Dorrit.
More deadly than Lyme Disease...

The Tick-Borne
Powassan Virus
The often fatal
Powassan virus

In 1958, a five-year-old boy from Powassan, Ontario, Canada presented to a children’s hospital complaining of dizziness; his parents also described tremors of his left arm. Electroencephalogram readings showed a widespread disturbance in the patient’s brain. The patient’s condition began to rapidly decline, and within six days he died.

Portions of the patient’s brain were prepared into suspensions and inoculated into mice. A new virus was isolated from the brains of the inoculated mice and was designated as the Powassan Virus, after the patient’s hometown.(1)

Today, we know Powassan virus is a rare Flavivirus that utilizes multiple species of ticks as vectors. In the United States, Powassan virus is endemic to the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.(2) The true geographic distribution of Powassan virus is not well known due to underdiagnoses of human cases. However, cases have been reported as far west as California.

According to the CDC, approximately one in ten cases of severe Powassan virus infection are fatal. Infection with Powassan virus has been shown to occur in as little as 15 minutes after a tick bite.(3) The virus can cause severe symptoms including confusion, loss of coordination, and seizures.(4) Although some infections are asymptomatic, the disease often progresses rapidly into encephalitis or meningitis that is far worse than Lyme Disease.

From 1999 to 2016, only 98 cases of Powassan virus were reported—however, some experts believe the virus may be encountered with higher frequency due to ecological changes.(3) In the past, Powassan virus typically infected a species of tick that was not widely reported to bite humans. Recently, the virus infects the deer tick, which more commonly bites humans. The deer tick has a wide geographic distribution, increasing the chance of infection for much of the population.

“The Powassan virus is rarely diagnosed as a cause of encephalitis, however when it is, Powassan encephalitis is severe, and neurologic sequelae are common. Powassan encephalitis has symptoms that are compatible with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, oftentimes making it difficult to diagnose. Powassan virus encephalitis is a challenge to diagnose because there are only a few laboratories that offer testing, the most effective being serologic testing.(6)

Prevention of Powassan virus is crucial because no treatment exists, and availability of testing is scarce.(3) The CDC recommends using common insecticides such as DEET and checking for tick bites after exploring potentially infested areas.(5) Next time you take a trip outdoors, remember to factor in protection from tick bites; these vectors for disease can be much more than just a nuisance.

By Manuel Escalera
Performance Studies Technician, Hardy Diagnostics
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Covid Supplies and Test Kits
Rapid Covid Antibody Test Kit
Hardy announces a rapid test kit for the detection of Covid antibodies (both IgM for current infection and IgG for long term immunity) from any blood specimen. Read out in only 10 minutes. No equipment required.
AloeSafe, a better way

Hardy's hand sanitizing gel guards against drying of your skin with Vitamin E, soothes with Aloe Vera, and has a pleasant scent with lavender oil. No harmful ingredients as with the cheap drug store variety! Don't your hands deserve the very best?
DisCide Wipes

With Hardy's DisCide Ultra you get 160 towelettes that are soaked with two powerful killing agents, isopropyl alcohol and quaternary ammonium. Effective against bacteria and viruses.
Viral Transport Medium
Hardy's viral specimen transport is ideal for COVID-19 antigen testing. The shelf life has been increased to 270 days at room temperature. Swabs are sold separately.
N95 Masks
NIOSH Certified, with silicone seal
Now available for immediate shipping!
Face Masks
With adjustable metal nose band.
Now available for immediate shipping!
Double Action Sanitizer

Hardy's custom produced sanitizer pump bottle gives you double protection...both isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Bugs don't stand a chance!
Comfy Lab Coats

For added protection on the job, Hardy offers disposable lab coats, featuring three pockets, and comfortable knit cuffs and collars.
flocked swab
Specimen Collection Swabs
Hardy offers swabs in the flocked, foam, and spun polyester formats.
Choose from nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, standard, or urethral.

Available for immediate shipping!


This is my step ladder...
I never knew my real ladder.

You can’t plant flowers if you haven’t botany.

Do not eat aluminum or you will sheet metal.

I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

If you jumped off the bridge in Paris, you'd be in Seine.

If you want to make antifreeze, steal her blanket.

Clinical Microbiology
CryoSavers for long term storage

Hardy offers a complete line of freezer vials, with or without beads, with many color choices for cap inserts.
HardyCHROM Candida+auris

Hardy's new chromogenic plate for the detection of Candida spp, now includes C. auris! It creates both a colored and fluorescent colony. Vivid colors stand out against a white background.
PYR Test
Rapid Test Methods

Check out our mini catalog on rapid test kits that includes reagents and test cards. You'll see many "hard to find" products that will save you time and money!
Loops of all kinds!

When it comes to loops, Hardy has it all. Nichrome, platinum, disposable, calibrated, needles, or spreaders. Click below to see our complete mini-catalog on inoculating loops.
MBL organisms
QC Organisms

Hundreds of species are available from Hardy Diagnostics, your MBL distributor. Available in the pellet or stick format. Quantitative or qualitative.
latex agglut
Easy Staph ID

With Hardy's StaphTex you can quickly identify Staphylococcus aureus using latex agglutination within minutes. Highly specific with no cross reactivity.
Free Gram Stain Tutorial

Hardy has prepared the best ever Gram stain technique tutorial that you can use for training new Techs....and it's FREE! Check it out below...
HC Candida
Candida ID Made Easy!

The HardyCHROM plate can help identify Candida species by colony color.

Pre-reduced anaerobic culture media, ready-to-use for your set-ups. Pouches are gassed out with nitrogen for superior growth. See our complete anaerobic catalog below...
Dehydrated Media

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

Seeing is Believing?
How versatile is your brain?
Can you see this man, horse, and dog as both going and coming?

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

Check out Hardy's complete mini-catalog on environmental monitoring and sterility testing for the Pharmaceutical industry.
Impact Air Samplers

Hardy offers a complete line of air samplers for your clean room monitoring program. Check out our complete catalog!


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!
  • Learn more about MALDI Technology
  • Find out more about Hardy's new MALDI instrument
  • View a short introductory video
  • Contact us for pricing and details

A New Pill for COVID-19 Shows Promise
Merck has released interim data about its new anti-Covid drug, Molnupiravir, and the results look good...but only if treated immediately after symptoms appear.

Here are some facts about this new oral medication:

  • Phase 3 trials showed 7.3% of 1,400 at-risk patients who received the new Molnupiravir pill were hospitalized, and none died within 29 days of treatment. By contrast, 14.1% of placebo recipients were hospitalized or died, thus cutting the risk in half. Eight patients in the placebo group died.

  • It was shown to be effective against different variants, including Delta, and is unlikely to produce viral resistance.

  • It is hoped to be especially useful in low- and middle-income countries while countries expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution.

  • Molnupiravir works by attacking a protein involved in viral replication, rather than the spike protein which is used with the vaccine.

  • If approved by the FDA by EUA at the end of this year, Merck will be charging the US government $700 per treatment.

Can Melatonin be Repurposed in the Battle Against Covid?
The Cleveland Clinic released the results of a study on persons that routinely took melatonin as an aid in inducing sleep.

Analysis of patient data from Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry revealed that melatonin usage was associated with a nearly 30% reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 after adjusting for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities.(1)

Another study produced results that showed that melatonin acts to reduce reactive oxygen species–mediated damage, cytokine-induced inflammation, and lymphopenia in viral diseases similar to COVID-19.(2)

It is hoped that melatonin will be yet another repurposed weapon in the ongoing battle against COVID-19.

Food Microbiology
Dilu-Lok Dilution Vials

Many formulae are available with our pre-made, ready-to-use dilution vials. Easy flip-top for one-handed opening.
Compact Dry for Colony Counts - a better way!

Space saving miniplates for performing your colony counts.
Watch a short video to learn why the Compact Dry has many advantages over Petri Film! Don't forget to check out our automated colony counter!

Wisdom to Ponder...
Denzel Washington

American actor, director, and producer. He has earned various awards including two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Tony Award. In 2020, The New York Times ranked him as the greatest actor of the twenty-first century.

"Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt by the heart."

"Don't aspire to make a living, aspire to make a difference."

"Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success."

"Be careful what you ask for because when you pray for rain, you have to deal with the mud as well."

"I pray that you all put your shoes way under the bed at night so that you gotta get on your knees in the morning to find them. And while you're down there thank God for grace and mercy and understanding."

"You'll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. ... Now, I've been blessed to make hundreds of millions of dollars in my life. I can't take it with me, and neither can you. It's not how much you have, but what you do with what you have."

"My mother never gave up one me. I messed up in school so much they were sending me home, but my mother sent me right back."

"My faith helps me understand that circumstances don't dictate my happiness, my inner peace."

"You can’t break me because you didn’t make me."

"Put God first in everything you do ... Everything that I have is by the grace of God, understand that. It's a gift ... I didn't always stick with Him, but He stuck with me."

"Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency."
"I was the best man at the wedding...

If I was the best man, then why did she marry him?

Jerry Seinfeld

Time for your monthly
cranial workout!

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