Human pathogens are those organisms which cause disease in humans. Certain viruses, bacteria, protozoa, round worms, flatworms, and insects can live inside humans. Most bacteria that live on the skin or in the gut of humans are harmless or beneficial. Some are usually harmless, but can cause disease under certain conditions. Some species of bacteria are known as pathogens but affect small numbers of humans. Some species are highly pathogenic and are lethal for a high percentage of the humans they infect. Some are highly contagious, but rarely cause death.
Some bacteria that caused terrible epidemics in the past are today much less dangerous.
Some that cause problems today were relatively harmless in the past.
If childern want to study pathogens, for example to study Kochs Postulates, then work with plant pathogens as they seldom cause any problem in humans. For example you might start with a rotten apple or other fruit, but avoid dusky molds and dry moldy piles of leaves and grass.
The main concern about working with microbiology at home is the possibility that you will accidentally isolate a pathogen (disease causing) organism. There are many bacteria found in nature that can cause human disease. Therefore, you need to use much greater caution than you used in isolating bacteria from foods. Please go to page B080 and study about pathogenic bacteria before you isolate any bacteria from habitats which might contain human pathogens.
The best insurance against a human pathogen is to avoid isolating bacteria from habitats known to carry pathogens. Secondly, do not isolate bacteria from the Genera known to contain human pathogens. Thirdly, do not isolate using medium and isolating conditions used for isolating human pathogens. Fourthly, learn all you can about human pathogens. Page LINK COMING is the index page for pathogenic bacteria. You can search the web for +bacteria +pathogenic +human for further information. and select the majority organism, not a strange unusual colony. Therefore, you need to read about bacteria before you isolate them so that you are armed with much knowledge. For that reason, this website will have pages describing many safe common bacteria and lists and info about those that cause disease. It will take months or years to complete those pages. Meanwhile, read any bacteriology books you can find.
B122 - Isolating Brevibacterium linens from Limburger Cheese; first experiment for kids.
B.htm - Main index page for Bacteria
Projects - Always begin here.
I am revising the bacteria pages; you should always begin with page b.htm
B100 - Food Microbiology Index - Safe bacteria that you eat everyday
Lots of safe home food bacteria experiments coming in Jan - Feb.
New pages - New or greatly revised and Uploaded since 1998 Jan 22
B122 - Isolation of Brevibacterium linens from Limburger Cheese
B203 - Isolation of Vibrio (Photobacterium) phosphoreum from fresh sea fish - glows in dark
1998 Jan 24. A dozen students have written this month seeking informatin for a bacteria projects. Most had exhausted the books available in their school and local libraries. While I have written them e-messages to assist with their projects, I am also beginning many new pages at this site to answer the questions they had.
I am spending about 30 hours per week starting new pages and adding to old ones. Due to all the changes, b.htm is the best place to look for new pages. I am doing a rewrite of each page at least once per week. At the bottom of each page is a Revision date and Draft number. When I get to Draft 4, a page is getting pretty well done.
If a page is not clear, or the method is too difficult for you or you don't have the supplies and equipment, write me. I will try to make the page more useful to you.
Suggested Bacteria Projects (Someday, I will expand each of these to a full web page):
Revised 1998 Jan 23 - Draft 1