E. coli?

Peter Charles pcharles at aecom.yu.edu
Wed Oct 4 06:32:50 EST 1995

On 4 Oct 1995, ROCKBUGS wrote:

>Just this week, our system told me I had 
> 99.9% Pseudomonas cepacia, but I *knew*  it was really Xanthomonas
> maltophilia - my nose knew better than than the machine, and I eventually
> proved it!  Micro is more or less like a good detective novel. Enjoy!   
> How about some input from those with more letters after their names than
> I?
>                                      Kathy

Kathy and ROCKBUGS,

It has been too long since I worked clinical micro (10+ years) to be
of any help for the original question.  Kathy brought up an interesting 
point in her post, though.  Back when I did ID bugs for a living, I was
almost always able to ID to the genus level just on the smell of the bug 
alone.  Usually I could speciate as well.  The few times that there was
a difference between my olfactory ID and the API 20e, it turned out that 
I was right.  At the time I was working in the army as a labtech/grunt, 
and so my peculiar talent was not especially appreciated ;), and no one 
really seemed interested in talking much about how the bugs smelled... 
Six years later when I was TA'ing undergrad "Micro for Nursing 
students" in grad school, I found it was still easier to ID by nose than 
by biochemical profile.  I was wondering if any other clinical 
bacteriologists relied on their noses for presumptive ID of bacteria.

Peter Charles, PhD
Department of Pathology (Neuropathology)
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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