What is a microbiology lab practical like?

  1. My teacher wasnt real clear on what it was like even though I asked her twice.
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    About bethannie

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 41; Likes: 5


  3. by   tigerlogic
    It depends on your teacher of course but you are more likely to need to identify things from pictures or looking through microscopes. Maybe the type of stain and the result? "If you saw XYZ in lab what would that mean" type questions. But in the end, it really depends on your teacher.
  4. by   nguyency77
    My practical was pretty easy. The TA set up I think like... 40-odd stations. Each station would have plates with bacteria growing on them that we had to identify; we had to look at microscope slides, slants, etc., identify the kinds of tests and what results would be expected for which species. Good luck.
  5. by   astronomia
    I had a written and performance-based practical. The performance-based required us to make a successful gram stain and pure culture following proper procedure (aseptic technique, etc.) and have successful results on our first try. We were also given a random liquid culture of two bacteria to perform tests on to identify the two organisms (ex: I gram stained it and found a G+ bacillus, did a catalase test, it was negative, discovered it was lactobacillus).

    The written portion was over procedures (ex: how to do a gram stain), bacteria morphology (ex: it showed a pic of rod-shaped bacteria and asked the type of bacteria), selective and differential media (ex: what does a SIM tube test for and is it selective or differential), and procedures we had done in the class (ex: how to calculate the FDF of a test tube).

    Each class is different though, so it's hard to say!
  6. by   ksecatero21
    We had two, a midterm & a final.

    our midterm we were given either an unknown gram + or gram - organism we had to properly perform the gram strain to figure that out along being graded on how well we perform them with aseptic techniques and interpretation. from there we ran another series of test associated with your gram + or - organism.

    the final we were given a broth culture with two unknown organisms (one gram + & gram - organism), we had to isolate each bacteria and identify them via dichotomous keys. after finding out which organisms were identified we are required to write a detailed report on our isolations.

    the midterm was harder than the final.
  7. by   akulahawkRN
    It has been a few years now, but as I recall why microbiology lab practical was something along the lines of identifying an unknown organism using standardized testing. This lab practical took a few days because we had to isolate the organism and through a series of tests, determine what the organism was. If you had a culture contamination, potentially you had a problem because some test would turn out positive when they should be and negative when they shouldn't be, and that can get really confusing so you have to use the weight of evidence and try to determine which is which. It wasn't hard but you have to be very precise about maintaining aseptic technique and based on previous testing, figure out a plan for what next test to do. That also meant determining what tests would confirm or refute the test you just ran.

    In my case, I have determined what organism I had been given for testing by only running 2 tests. I then ran a couple more tests to confirm the fact that I had that particular specific organism. Fortunately, because I was relatively certain that I had isolated the organism to begin with, I could run the next couple of tests very quickly, in fact I ran simultaneously those tests. It really was not that hard, but in the end I did correctly identify the organism and I managed to prevent contamination of my samples without too much difficulty. The reason why my instructor did this type of test is that it encapsulated everything that we did throughout the entire semester. You had to apply everything you have learned throughout the semester in order to complete the final exam practical.

    That was simply how my particular microbiology class ran. We could've done things differently where we might have been given pre-prepared slides and tests and whatnot to determine the organism by looking at it. That kind of testing would've gone faster, but we would not have been able to prove quite readily whether or not we understood aseptic technique.

    Overall, I quite enjoyed microbiology, but I don't think that I would've ever wanted to make it my life's work.
  8. by   zoe92
    We had to walk around, identify specific bacteria in microscope slides and answer multiple choice questions (like definitions from our lab book). I think it depends on the school/professor. My professor was easy.
  9. by   SopranoKris
    Lab practical is the FUN part of Microbiology. You learn to prep slides, do stains (e.g. Gram stain, simple stain, etc.), learn various diagnostic tests to aid you in identifying microorganisms. You'll more than likely have to do an Unknown project of some sort at the end of the semester. Either you will be given samples or you'll have to go swab objects (e.g. public phones, doorknobs, throats, etc.) to identify unknown microorganisms. Lots of fun, especially when you have good dichotomous keys to work from.

    In our lab, we had 4 exams plus we had to turn in 5 formal lab reports and do an Unknown project (given 2 samples). Do you have your syllabus yet? If so, take a look at it. It should give you an idea of what you're in for Best of luck to you!
  10. by   DawnJ
    We got a tube with an unknown gram positive and an unknow gram negative and we had 2 weeks to figure out what they were and write a lab report. It was fun
  11. by   bethannie
    Thanks guys!
  12. by   bethannie
    Wow, most of y'alls professors seem more fun than mine!