The bacteriology course for Swedish veterinary students, 2019

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

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, 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 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:

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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Phylogenetic trees of Actinobacteria

Phylogenetic tree of Actinobacteria.

Phylogenetic tree based on 16S rRNA gene sequences of some members of the phylum Actinobacteria.

Phylogenetic trees for all members of the phylum Actinobacteria in VetBact (27 species/subspecies) have now been included. The only group of bacteria for which there are no trees available in VetBact is the class Gammaproteobacteria, which also is the biggest class with 61 members included in VetBact.

The phylogenetic trees in VetBact are based on prealigned 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from RDP (Ribosomal Database Project). The trees have been constructed on line by using the computer program “Tree Builder” at the website of RDP. The images of the trees were further revised by using the GNU Image Manipulation Program – GIMP.

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Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and M. hyorhinis

Mycoplasma hyorhinis.

Colonies of Mycoplasma hyorhinis cultivated on commersially Mycoplasma-Experience medium  for 7 days. The length of the scale bars is equivalent to 1 mm. Credit: Joachim Frey and Bettina Trueb.

Thanks to Professor Joachim Frey (Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology, University of Bern, Swit- zerland), we have got images of colonies of Mycoplasma hyopneumo- niae and M. hyorhinis to by used on the corresponding bacterial pages of VetBact. Mycoplasmas form very small colonies (0.1-1 mm in diameter) and to see details of the colonies, a microscope has to be used. The colonies are in general umbonated and are said to look like fried eggs. However, these two mycoplasmas form atypical colonies with very poorly defined “egg yolk”.

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MALDI-TOF MS available at VHC, SLU


The instrument for MALDI-TOF MS, which i.e. can be used for identification of bacteria, is placed at BVF, VHC, SLU.

Since some months back there is an instrument for MALDI-TOF MS (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption – Time Of Flight Mass Spectrometry) available for analyses at VHC (Centre for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science), SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Science. The instrument is placed at the BVF (Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health) and it is ready to be used in research projects, routine diagnostics and teaching. MALDI-TOF kan for instance be used for identification of bacteria, mold and fungi.

For more information about costs etc. contact:
Lise-Lotte Fernström (, phone: 018-672389 or
Lars Frykberg (, phone: 018-673387 or
Sofia Boqvist (, phone: 018-672388.

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