Research Presented in an Oral Session at ASM Microbe 2017: Introducing the Sporobiota

Introducing the Sporobiota: Spore-Forming Bacteria that Share Unique Characteristics Including Similar Human Health Challenges

Research Presented in an Oral Session at American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2017

NEW YORK, NY, June 5, 2017 — Human Microbiology Institute (HMI), a not-for-profit scientific research organization founded by Drs. Victor and George Tetz, today proposed that the Sporobiota, unrelated spore-forming bacteria that share unique characteristics because of their spore-forming capabilities, pose significant challenges to human health. The study, conducted by Drs. V. and G. Tetz, supporting the Sporobiota as an important and newly recognized potential human pathogenic class were presented by Dr. G. Tetz in an oral session at American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2017, June 1–5, 2017, in New Orleans.

Spore-forming bacteria (endospore formers) are microbes that have the ability to transform into spores when exposed to inhospitable environments. The spore is a quiescent state of the bacterium that is resistant to environments, including antibiotic exposure that would be lethal to the vegetative bacterium. Although endospore formers come from many taxonomic bacterial groups, they share several common potentially pathogenic characteristics including high transmissibility, persistence in the environment, chronicity and relapses. One of the more well-known spore-forming pathogens, Clostridium difficile, has become a very important human pathogen because of the characteristics of spore-forming bacteria listed above and because treatment of patients with broad spectrum antibiotics destroys the normal gut flora allowing overgrowth of the bacteria and emergence of its pathogenic effects.

This study identified 140 previously unknown endospore formers from humans and evaluated the presence of virulence and resistance factors in their genomes. Almost all isolates harbored multiple known virulence genes. The study also identified over 85,000 antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs), the highest number being found in Bacillus and Paenibacillus spp., with numerous genes resistant to beta-lactams, macrolides, tetracycline and multidrug efflux transporters. An important feature that was discovered is the high number of these genes associated with mobile gene elements, which would enable the genes to be transferred to other bacteria. The most common resistance genes associated with mobility elements coded for vancomycin resistance, beta-lactam resistance, macrolide resistance and multi-drug efflux elements. Moreover, because of the persistence of the infections caused by endospore formers, the high transmission potential of spores, their resistance to normally lethal environmental conditions and the high mobility potential of their ARGs the Sporobiota are a serious threat to human health.

“HMI is focused on identifying aspects of the microbiome that are relatively unexplored but also have important consequences for human health,” said George Tetz, M.D., Ph.D., founder and chairman of HMI and lead author of the study. “The results of this study demonstrate that a segment of the microbiota, which we named the Sporobiota, carries virulence and antibiotic resistance genes that can be transferred to other bacterial species including those known to be serious human pathogens. We were able to obtain these data through the genetic workflow developed by our core laboratory that enabled us to identify new pathogens in humans. In the future, we expect to expand this work to uncover the previously unexplored role of Sporobiota in the spread of antibiotic resistance with the ultimate objective of preventing and curing serious infections.”

About The Human Microbiology Institute

The Human Microbiology Institute (HMI), founded by Drs. Victor and George Tetz in 2015, is an independent, not-for-profit research organization that has formed collaborations with universities, research organizations, hospitals, biotech companies, and other life science organizations with the objective of identifying and researching previously unexplored processes that cause human disease.. These collaborations yield a multidisciplinary approach and provide a broad range of technical and theoretical expertise. HMI performs breakthrough research for the public interest that results in novel translational approaches to medicine. HMI is addressing some of society’s biggest medical challenges and unmet medical needs in such areas as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, metabolic disorders, various cancers, age-related infectious diseases, spreading of antibiotic resistance, etc. Dr. V. Tetz has over 45 years of experience in microbiological research and discovery. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and numerous patents in the fields of microbiology and drug discovery. He serves as scientific advisor and is responsible for strategic planning for HMI. Dr. G. Tetz has over 17 years of experience in microbiological research. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed papers in the fields of Microbiology and Drug development and discovery. More information can be found at


HMI Contact:

George Tetz, M.D., Ph.D.


Media Contact:

Cari P. Randall

The Ruth Group