Microbes: Other "Nerdy" Information

If you are more curious about microbes, and want to understand why Streptococcus bacteria, for example, need close contact for transmission from person to person, here are last bits of information about the microbes in your flora that you may encounter. Some may call this information "nerdy" or "geek-speak", but as a science person, I find it fascinating!

It’s not necessary for you to memorize any of this, because you can always come back to this page: Air Requirements, Fermentation types, Gram Staining, Spores and Laboratory-Study Lingo.

Air Requirements of Flora Microbes

Aerobic” means “with oxygen” so aerobic microbes need oxygen to live. “Anaerobic” means “without oxygen”, so anaerobic microbes do not need oxygen to survive.

Facultative anaerobe” means that the microbe can use oxygen if it is there or can live in environments without oxygen. “Obligate anaerobe“ means the microbe cannot live in oxygenated places.

Aerotolerant” means that the microbes can survive in, but not use, small amounts of oxygen.

Lastly, “microaerophilic” means that the microbe needs low levels of oxygen to live, much lower than the 20% or so oxygen content of air. So you wouldn’t want to be fooled buying something like a salad dressing, for example, that contains a probiotic that is an obligate anaerobe (like some Bifidobacterium species) since the dressing is spread over the salad and exposed to air.

Fermentation Types Of Flora Microbes

Fermentation is one process of producing energy in microbes. It is especially important in the lactic-acid bacteria (LAB) and yeasts. Fermentation does not always have to take place in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment, but most bacteria will use fermentation when air is absent.

Homofermentative” means that the bacteria produce mostly or only one end product, such as lactic-acid from glucose.

Heterofermentative” means that the bacteria produce different end products, such as acids, alcohols and gases, from carbohydrates such as glucose.

"Facultative heterofermentative" means that it depends on the circumstances. It may or may not produce the different end products.

Gram Staining of Flora Microbes

Bacteria is often referred to as “Gram-positive” or “Gram-negative”. The Gram method is a way of staining bacteria to determine basic cell wall properties to help identify the general type of bacteria quickly. However, not all bacteria stain either positive or negative consistently, and some don’t stain at all.

In addition to Gram staining, microbes used to be routinely cultured in a laboratory in a petri dish to identify them. Since some microbes are not able to be cultured outside of the body in a lab in a petri dish, and since Gram staining is helpful but not an absolute diagnosis, now the gold standard is to use gene sequencing to more accurately determine the genus, species and strain levels of flora.


Spores are reproductive structures that are either actively ejected from the microbe with force, or passively distributed through contact with the environment. You have probably heard of mold spores, but may be surprised to know that some bacteria form spores, too. Microbes that produce spores are “sporulating”; microbes that don’t produce spores are “non-sporulating.”

Laboratory-Study Lingo

When doing experiments, scientists summarize where the study was done. “In vitro” means in isolated cells in a laboratory test tube or petri dish. “In vivo” means in the whole, living organism. “Ex vivo” means in live, isolated cells studied outside of an organism but in conditions similar to their natural conditions.

Learn about other information about microbes:

What your flora is

How probiotics are classified

What CFU means

Why CFU is important

To get back to the Homepage, click here.

Protected by Copyscape DMCA Copyright Protection

Please, provide a link to this website or share the pages. I provide original, informative content for my readers and you should do the same.

Thanks for visiting this site! If you've enjoyed reading this page or have found the information to be useful to you, please "like", tweet about it, or share it so others can benefit, too.

Sometimes Facebook takes a few seconds for Facebook commenting to load on mobile devices OR Facebook temporarily does not allow comments on a page. If this happens to you, I apologize in advance. Waiting a few seconds or commenting on other pages may work just fine. Thanks for your understanding!

Comment with Facebook!

I'd love to hear your opinion about what you just read. Leave me a comment in the box below! Other commenting options follow the Facebook comments.

Comment with Disqus (including as a guest), Twitter or Google accounts:

If you are one of my many readers without a Facebook account, you can still comment.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is educational in nature and is not intended as diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure for any physical or mental disease, nor is it intended as a substitute for regular medical care. Consult with your doctor regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.

Return to TOP of Page

Subscribe to my monthly newsletter with news you can use to transform your health!

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Nutritionist Notes.

Get some help with weight loss and using cultured foods and drinks with my free report: "A Shocking Meal Plan for Weight Loss" when you sign up for my monthly newsletter, "Nutritionist Notes."

Wellevate Looking for some quality professional supplements, including probiotics? Check out my dispensary, as I will be doing reviews of some of these products in the future. Click on the Wellevate butterfly to learn more.

SiteSell Hosting

Some competitors of SBI are posting fake negative reviews of SBI. If you are considering creating your own website business, I highly recommend SBI!