Changing Bacterial Names

Rhodococcus equi
Close-up of colonies of Rhodococcus equi cultivated on bovine blood agar. The length of the scale bar is equivalent to 5 mm.

The scientific names of bacteria are changed from time to time and some of them, several times. This may cause confusion, but one should keep in mind that any bacterial name that has been validly published for a certain species may be used in scientific literature. The names must be unique and linguistically correct. Furthermore, they should preferably reflect the relation to closely related species, by having the same genus name. Systematic bacteriology is a rapidly developing scientific field and new pieces of knowledge are continuously obtained. Therefore, recently validly published scientific bacterial names are more likely to reflect the true properties of the bacterium, than older names.

One example of a bacterium that has caused confusion is Rhodococcus equi. There has been an ongoing debate since the1980s, if this bacterium should not be called Rhodococcus hoagii or Prescottella equi, which both have been validly published. In VetBact we have chosen to use Rhodococcus equi because the veterinarians in our area were not very happy with the other names.

In the list of bacterial names in VetBact, you can only find Rhodococcus equi. However, if you perform a Quick Search in VetBact and use the other names of this bacterium, you will arrive at the correct species. This also applies for other bacteria that have more than one validly published name.

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The bacteriology course for Swedish veterinary students, 2020

Close-up of colonies of Bacillus licheniformis which has
recently been included in VetBact. The length of the scale bar is equivalent to 6 mm.

The bacteriology course for the Swedish veterinary students starts on September 17 and we would like to wish the students very welcome to this course. We hope that the students will find VetBact useful during their studies and especially during this year, since all lectures will be on-line due to COVID-19. We appreciate all kinds of feed-back, which will help us to improve VetBact and its different parts. During the last year we have included several new bacteria, and more quizzes have been added in the course material. We are continuously updating information of bacteria, terms, biochemical tests and growth media etc.

The VetBactRef Group

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Continuous improvement…

We are always looking for ways to improve the VetBact database and website, and although we haven’t added any new types of information this year, we have continued to refine the content that we already had.

Start page of the General Quiz in bacteriology.
On the first page of the General Quiz, you can
now choose topic area and number of questions.

For example, we have included information about several bacteria that were not in the database before. Also, we have spruced up the quizzes in bacteriology and food safety by adding around 30 new questions and given you the option to choose questions from different categories, as shown in the image. If you haven’t tried it already, why not challenge yourself and give it a go?

Many of the improvements we make are initiated by students or other interested parties, so if you have any suggestions or other comments, don’t hesitate to let us know!

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The bacteriology course for Swedish veterinary students, 2019

MALDI-TOF MS
The instrument for MALDI-TOF MS, which is placed at BVF, VHC, SLU.

The bacteriology course for the Swedish veterinary students starts on September 19 and we would like to wish the students very welcome to this course. We hope that the students will find VetBact useful during their studies and we appreciate all kinds of feed-back, which will help us to improve VetBact and its different parts. For this course, we have created four (soon to be five) new virtual cases based on MALDI-TOF MS (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization – Time of Flight Mass Spectroscopy). This technique has proved very useful in clinical bacteriology, because it can be used to identify bacteria directly from colonies.

The VetBactRef Group

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Technical upgrade

HTML 5 logo.
HTML 5 logo from W3C.

We have recently upgraded most pages on the VetBact website to HTML 5. There are some parts where we still use HTML 4, most notably in the virtual laboratory known as VetBactLab, and some of the quizzes.

The main reason for the upgrade is that we want the website to function well on devices with small screens (phones) as well as on workstations with large screens, and any­thing in between. We are not quite there yet, but we are working on it.

Some pages, such as the Image Gallery, have only been partially upgraded due to com­pati­­bi­lity problems with old versions of the Inter­­net Explorer browser (MSIE). If you discover any pages that don’t display well in your browser, do let us know, either by leaving a reply below or through the Contact Form. Please describe the problem and, if possible, include information on which web browser (including version) you are using.

The long term plan is to upgrade all pages, but we want to do it step by step, and hopefully without leaving many MSIE users behind.

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All Time High on VetBact

Bacteriology course 2018

The Swedish veterinary students are using VetBact to compare their own results from analyses of spiked clinical samples with the information available on VetBact. Date: 2018-10-11.

In the first three quarters of 2018, we have had an average of about 2 100 visited pages per day on VetBact. Yesterday (11 Oct., 2018), the number of visited pages  reached the “all time high” value of 16 250 visited pages in one day. Most of the visitors (about 80%) were from Sweden and the majority of these are participants in the bacteriology course for veterinary students at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. This week, the students are identifying bacteria in spiked samples and VetBact is used a lot to compare data for identification of unknown bacteria in the spiked samples.

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Welcome to the bacteriology course 2018 for vet students

Baktkursen 2017

Some happy vet students are showing their successful results to the senior lecturer Ingrid Hansson during the bacteriology course 2017.

The bacteriology course for the Swedish veterinary students started on September 20. We hope that  the students will find VetBact useful during their studies and we appreciate all kinds of feed-back, which will help us to improve VetBact and its different parts. One rather new part in VetBact is the General Quiz that can be used to check the knowledge in veterinary bacteriology and we hope that the students will find it
exciting.

Feed-back can be given in different ways:

  1. By leaving a comment on this post (in English or Swedish) in the VetBactBlog. The comment will be published on the Blog if it is relevant.
  2. By using the contact form, which can be reached from most pages of VetBact (particularly useful if you want to comment or ask a question about a certain bacterial species).
  3. By leaving a comment on the form, which can be opened when you have finished a case in VetBactLab (particularly useful if you want to comment on the in silico cases).

The VetBactRef group

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Phage therapy for treatment of American foulbrood caused by Paenibacillus larvae infections in honey bees

Honey bee

A healthy honey bee, which is collecting nectar from a plant called Miss Willmott´s Ghost. Photo: Karl-Erik Johansson, VetBact, SLU.

American foulbrood is a serious disease in bee brood (larvae) and it is caused by the spore forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. This disease can be found all over the world, where honey bees are kept in hives and it is spread by worker bees that may carry P. larvae spores in their honey stomach. In a very interesting article by T.S. Brady et al. from 2017, it was shown that phage therapy can be used as an alternative to antibiotics for treatment of honey bee larvae suffering from American foulbrood. The authors used a mixture of phages isolated from three different strains of P. larvae, which was added to the sugar solution used in the feeders. Infected hives were completely recovered within two weeks of treatment with the phage mixture. There are many advantages in using phages instead of antibiotics for treatment of bacterial diseases, which are discussed in the above article.

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New Server

SLU 40 years logoFrom the beginning, we have developed the VetBact database with the needs of the students in the veterinary program in mind, but we also want it to be a useful resource for many workers outside the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).

When we first went online, in 2006, the database was hosted by our partner during the early years of development, the National Vete­rina­ry Institute (SVA). VetBact was at that time an integral part of the SVA website.

As VetBact grew and we introduced more student-oriented modules such as quizzes, it became clear that it needed its own domain name and server. Therefore we acquired the domain vetbakt.se, and moved the system to a commercial web hosting service. As we continued to develop the system, it soon became evident that most of our users were in countries other than Sweden, so we changed the domain to vetbact.org and moved the system to a more powerful server.

With the further development of even more course-related functionality, e.g. the virtual laboratory VetBactLab and video lectures, it now seems appropriate to take the next step in that we now bring the system back home to its roots by moving it to a server run by the university IT department. Incidentally, this means that VetBact can now also be reached using an alternate URL: http://vetbact.slu.se/.

The URLs have changed in that we no longer use “/vetbact” nor “/vetbactblog” as part of the URL path. Although we hope that most links to pages on the website will continue to get you to the right place despite this change, please check/update your links and bookmarks!

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The bacteriology course for veterinary students

Students in the lab.

Students are identifying bacteria during the 2017 course in bacteriology for veterinary students at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

In Sweden the course in bacteriology and food microbiology for veterinary students started on August 28 this year (2017) and will last until October 5. The bacteriology course is given during the second year of the veterinary programme and is attended by about 100 students. There is only one veterinary school in Sweden. The course consists of lectures and laboratory work. During the course, VetBact is used as a source of information, to check the knowledge and to perform virtual experiments. Links to lectures on YouTube can also be found on VetBact.

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