The Helicobacter Foundation


What is the best way to culture H. pylori and can this be done in a school setting?

H. pylori can be cultured in a "candle jar" on blood agar or "chocolate agar". These are common media, which can be obtained from any microbiology laboratory. Remember that H. pylori likes to have lots of moisture and also likes to have reduced amounts of oxygen with extra carbon dioxide. Typically this can be obtained in a "candle jar". A candle jar is made by placing wet paper towels in the bottom of an airtight container. The petri-dishes are placed on top of the wet towels, and above all this a candle is placed and set alight before closing the lid. The candle uses about half of the oxygen in the jar and replaces it with carbon dioxide. Usually H. pylori will be detected after 3 days of culture in this setting.

It must be remembered that H. pylori is a pathogen, which means that it can potentially cause an infection in humans or animals. Because of this it is strictly controlled in the laboratory and the usual precautions have to been taken when handling this type of bacteria. It has also been named as a potential carcinogen as its connection with gastric ulceration has been shown to link to gastric cancers and as such should be strictly controlled in the non-clinical laboratory setting.


Where is it possible to obtain sources, papers and references on H. pylori?
Papers and references on H. pylori may be obtained at any number of on-line medical journals that can be viewed at


How will the sequencing of the H. pylori genome help in the treatment and prevention of the disease?
The sequencing of the H. pylori genome may lead to the development of new vaccines and might allow us to think up new ways of killing the organism by inhibiting some of its essential parts.


Are there any foundations or organisations willing to fund research on GI cancer and H. pylori?
The National Institutes of Health and many other government and private organisations will fund research into H. pylori and gastric cancer. This is referred to as "peer reviewed funding" which means that H. pylori research grants must compete with all other types of medical research grants.


Is H. pylori a type of anaerobic bacteria and is it possible to transmit the bacteria by kissing?
H. pylori is microaerophilic. See the question on how to culture H. pylori above. It probably is possible to transmit H. pylori by kissing but this is not proven.


Is it possible for H. pylori to exist on teeth plaque?
Some scientists believe H. pylori resides in dental plaque. In Western countries and in patients who have good dental hygiene, H. pylori is not usually found in the mouth.


What is the International Standard of classification for H. pylori?
H. pylori is the type species of the genus Helicobacter. Helicobacters belong to the family Helicobacteraceae which are all members of the subdivision Proteobacteria.
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