Influenza Virus.

Also known as: Flu

Industry of interest: Healthcare

Classification: Virus

Microbiology: Influenza is a family of RNA enveloped viruses that affect birds and mammals. There are three Influenza types: A, B and C. A is the most important in human infection. Influenza is a huge public health concern that occurs in seasonal epidemics and has caused pandemic level infections as recently as 2009 with Influenza A strain H1N1 (Monto, 2010).

Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Also known as: Pneumococcus

Industry of Interest: Healthcare

Classification: Bacteria

Microbiology: Streptococcus pneumoniae is a Gram-positive coccus that commonly exists as chains of cells. S. pneumoniae produces haemolysin, a compound that breaks down the haemoglobin present in red blood cells. When S. pneumoniae is grown on blood agar the effect of haemolysin can be visualised. The haemolysin released by S. pneumoniae oxidises the red blood cells in the media leaving haemolysed regions a “greenish” colour; this process is known as -haemolysis (Mitchell and Mitchell, 2010)

Particella virale di HIV (rosa) mentre penetra in un linfocita. Qui il suo RNA sarà tradotto in DNA e incorporato in quello cellulare, forzando la cellula a produrre migliaia di copie del virus…

Staphylococcus aureus.

Also known as: S. aureus, Staph, Methicillin-susceptibleStaphylococcus aureus (MSSA)

Industry of Interest: Healthcare

Classification: Bacteria

Microbiology: Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive coccus that forms “grape-like” clusters of cells. It is also known for the “golden” appearance of its colonies, which is produced by a protective carotenoid pigment called Staphyloxanthin (Clanditz et al., 2006). S. aureus is an opportunistic pathogen with many toxins and virulence factors at its disposal.


Salmonella enterica.

Classification: Bacteria

Industry of interest: Food, Healthcare

Microbiology: Salmonella enterica is a Gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic rod and a member of the Enterobacteriaceae (Crum-Cianflone, 2008). There are currently more than 2500 serovars of S. enterica (Andrews-Polymenis et al., 2010). S. enterica is an important cause of foodborne illness in the developing world and causes sporadic outbreaks of Salmonellosis in the developed world.

Ricostruzione stereochimica della molecola di Taq polimerasi (in celeste) mentre sta replicando un tratto di DNA (linee verdi ed elementi giallo-viola). Il sito attivo dell'enzima è indicato dalle palline colorate. Questo enzima è ampiamente sfruttato nelle biotecnologie…

James D. Watson and Francis Crick were the two co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953. They used x-ray diffraction data collected by Rosalind Franklin and proposed thedouble helix or spiral staircase structure of the DNA molecule. Their article, Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, is celebrated for its treatment of the B form of DNA (B-DNA), and as the source of Watson-Crick base pairing of nucleotides. They were, with Maurice Wilkins, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

Apparently, as they walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge, Crick announced, “We have found the secret of life.”


Also known as: Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. pneumoniae

Industry of interest: Healthcare

Classification: Bacterium


Klebsiella is a genus of non-motile, Gram-negative, oxidase-negative, rod shaped bacteria. It belongs to the Enterobacteriaceae family which includes important human pathogens such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli. Klebsiellacan cause a wide range of infections, notably pneumonia, urinary tract infections, septicemia, and soft tissue infections (Podschun and Ullmann 1998). As opportunistic pathogens,Klebsiella spp. primarily infect immunocompromised individuals who are hospitalized and suffer from severe underlying diseases. Nosocomial Klebsiella infections are caused mainly by K. pneumoniae, the medically most important species of the genus. To a much lesser degree, K. oxytoca has been isolated from human clinical specimens (Podschun and Ullmann 1998).

Un batterio di Escherichia coli in falsi colori, trattato con un enzima in modo da far fuoriuscire il suo DNA. Questo tipo di batteri normalmente presenti nel nostro intestino, sono largamente usati nelle biotecnologie e rappresentano uno dei più importanti organismi di studio, usati in laboratorio…

Clostridium difficile.

Also known as: C.diffC difficile, CDAD (Clostridium difficile-associated disease)

Industry of interest: Healthcare

Classification: Bacterium

Microbiology: Clostridium difficile is an anaerobic, Gram-positive, spore-forming rod, which can colonize the human gut and cause toxin-mediated, usually antibiotic-associated disease (Bartlett et al. 1978). C. difficile is closely related toC. botulinum, which causes Botulism and produces the so-called “Botox” toxin used for cosmetic purposes, C. tetani, which causes Tetanus and C. perfringens, which causes Gangrene (Gurtler et al. 1991).

C. difficile can produce toxin A or toxin B, both of which lead to inflammation and injury of the colon, which manifests as mild to severe diarrhoea. These toxins are encoded by separate genes (tcdA and tcdB) which are controlled by several regulatory genes including positive (tcdD) and negative (tcdC) regulators all of which are part of the Pathogenicity Locus (PaLoc) of the genome (Warny et al. 2005). Variations in the sequence of PaLoc can be detected by toxinotyping, which is used in combination with a variety of other techniques to differentiate distinct strains of C. difficile.