Saturday 4 January 2014

Okay, Why so much Fungus???

This blog is called ‘Fun With Microbiology’, not’ Fun With Mycology’ – so what gives?  Why the disproportionate number of Fungal posts?

Well, this blog came about primarily because, after my injury, I needed some way to fill my time after regular work hours while waiting for my ride home.  With my return to work, I discovered that the laboratory had acquired some new “Toys” for photographing interesting microbiological specimens.  Surprisingly, few were interested in utilizing them, whereas with my previous interest in photography, I was only too happy to take command of these tools.

This blog is primarily about photography - about describing microbiology through pictures.  It is also about “interesting” cases – some of the less commonly encountered observations usually not described in text books.   (eg Mycobacteria in a gram stain, Strongyloides  tracks on agar plates, VDE –bacteria that need  antibiotics to survive.) Finally, it is about sharing my photographs with anyone who may find them of interest.

So, why so much fungus?  Well, bacteria exhibit a limited number morphological variations, as I’ve attempted to illustrate (right).  Generally speaking, an E.coli cell looks pretty much like a Salmonella cell, looks like a Citrobacter cell.  While important, yet often subtle, differences in morphology do occur in bacteria, I have chosen not to pursue them on this site.  Bacteria will be documented when the topic best lends itself to photographic interpretation.  

 Generally speaking, there are a limited number of bacterial morphotypes to explore with photography.

While I wish to pursue Parasitology a bit more extensively, I find myself limited to what cases present themselves in our acute care community hospital.

Numerous fine textbooks on Clinical Mycology are in print (see sidebar); however I have frequently found that the description ‘in text’ relates poorly to the one or two small supporting photographs offered.  Fungi are three dimensional organisms whose structure varies as they mature.  I’ve attempted to document these fascinating organisms from all angles and in all pertinent stages of development.

In summary, whether saprophytic contaminants or clinically significant isolates. fungi are the most photogenic microbiological organisms and present themselves in sufficient numbers to keep this blog going.

Finally, I offer my apologies for the rather lame name of this Blog.  My wife suggested I explore ‘blogging’ as a way to pass the time while bed bound, recovering from a catastrophic injury.  I jokingly chose this name never thinking I’d develop it past the few print photos I had taken years earlier.  Too late to change it now…