Category Archives: Ask a Microbiologist

Ask a Microbiologist #3: What’s in the almond milk?

Today’s installment of Ask a Microbiologist comes from a reader wondering what might be in that old almond milk in the fridge:

English: Raw Almond Milk
Raw Almond Milk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I found an open container of almond milk in my fridge the other day and it was OLD – I’m talking it had been opened for at least a month at this point. I know that as soon as it’s opened, the pasteurized almond milk is immediately primed for bacterial breeding. I was just curious as to which pathogenic (entero) bacteria are most likely to colonize at this point; I’m curious because there were zero indications of growth (ie no swelling of the container and no abnormal smells, colors, or textures).”

-Wondering what’s in there

Well WWIT, I’m glad you asked this, as I was starting to wonder about my soy milk as well.

This is a very open ended question and three main ways to inoculate your drink that could potentially lead to different contaminating microbes, some of which could be pathogenic. Continue reading Ask a Microbiologist #3: What’s in the almond milk?

Ask a Microbiologist #2: Questions from a future scientist

Bacteriophage attacking a bacterial cell
Bacteriophage attacking a bacterial cell (Photo credit: AJC1)

This week I received my first piece of reader mail and it contained some great questions from an undergraduate student at what I’ll call Big U. Here’s the background:

“I’m currently still working on my bachelors, but it is my ambition to earn my PhD, become a microbiologist, and research virology and bacteriology, topics which I have found articles on in your blog. However, I am new to the world of research, and I would love to be able to get some of your insights into a potential future in this field.”

A couple of these I really wish I’d know to ask before jumping into graduate school myself. So without further ado I’ll go straight into the questions. Continue reading Ask a Microbiologist #2: Questions from a future scientist

Ask A Microbiologist #1

Work. (1 of 2)
Work. (1 of 2) (Photo credit: musicalwds)

After writing for a month I’ve gotten my first reader question and I’m excited to share the answer with the rest of you. Here’s the question I got a week ago from a reader working in a tissue bank regarding their samples:

I work in a tissue bank and have some concerns in the practice we use for handling our tissue. When the tissue is ready for processing we receive it in a partially frozen state. To thaw, we have the tissue soak in sterile water for a period of 15 min. We process in rooms with air exchanges that are similar to a hospitals OR. We do have preventative measures after the process we take to protect the tissue. However, we recently have been trying to accommodate clients by processing aseptically. My question is, can the use of water create a harbor for bacterial growth considering the length of time the tissue will remain in the room throughout the duration of the process. (8 to 16 hours) and would there be any alternative means of a safer way in which to thaw the tissue?                                                                                                                -G

 This is a great question but a little bit outside of lab work that I’m personally familiar with. Thankfully though, aseptic technique works the same way everywhere, so here are some suggestions I came up with based on my experience. Continue reading Ask A Microbiologist #1