E. coli?

Diane E. Emery emery at bcm.tmc.edu
Wed Oct 4 13:50:44 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

> snip
.  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

When I worked as an undergrad in the Micro Dept, the grad student I worked
for was a Med Tech by trade and he sniffed everything! We worked together
for 2 years and TA'd together and he was constantly telling me "see, this
smells like burnt chocolate" or "this is fruity smelling". Everyone looked
at him like he'd flipped when he started sniffing cultures but he was
never wrong in his ID!


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