Focusing on Health: Laboratory Exercises in Microbiology

By:
Derek Weber, Ph.D.

This manual provides microbiology students with clinically relevant, real-world learning opportunities set within the framework of the microbiology laboratory. Each exercise contains a Focusing on Health section that interweaves material from the laboratory with applications in public health and/or the clinic. These vignettes aim to build student interest and connections, consistent with recommendations from the Vision and Change report. For instructors, this integration creates the opportunity for productive discussion of the impact of microbes on human health throughout the term.

Outstanding Features:

  • Illustrations That Instruct: Professional, full-color illustrations are designed to teach difficult concepts.
  • Full-Color Photographs: Expected Results sections contain high quality photographs and intentionally placed information boxes to assist students in interpreting results.
  • Clear Organization: Each exercise is predictably organized into the following sections: Learning Objectives, Underlying Theory, Focusing on Health, Materials and Procedure, Expected Results, References, and Review Your Understanding Assessments.
  • Investigative Exercises: A unit on definitive diagnosis tasks students with designing an experimental approach to identifying unknown bacteria.
  • Gradable Assessments: Assessments, aligned with stated learning outcomes, are available within the manual and for integration with most Learning Management Systems.
  • Student Safety: Biosafety-level 1 (BSL-1) bacteria are used throughout the manual in support of teaching labs not equipped to use BSL-2, with few exceptions.
Available in Digital and Interactive Format

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Table of Contents

Unit 1: Microscopy and Staining

  • Exercise 1: Introduction to the Light Microscope
  • Exercise 2: Simple Stain
  • Exercise 3: Gram Stain
  • Exercise 4: Acid-Fast Staining
  • Exercise 5: Endospore Staining
  • Exercise 6: Negative Staining
  • Exercise 7: Capsule Stain
  • Exercise 8: Fungi: Yeasts and Molds
  • Exercise 9: Parasitic Protozoans
  • Exercise 10: Medically Importatnt Helminths

Unit 2: Culture Techniques

  • Exercise 11: Aseptic Technique
  • Exercise 12: Cultural Characteristics of Microorganisms
  • Exercise 13: Evaluation of Growth Media
  • Exercise 14: Streak Plate Isolation
  • Exercise 15: Phenylethyl Alcohol Agar (PEA)
  • Exercise 16: Mannitol Salt Agar (MSA)
  • Exercise 17: Eosin-Methylene Blue Agar (EMB)
  • Exercise 18: MacConkey Agar
  • Exercise 19: Blood Agar
  • Exercise 20: Anaerobic Culture

Unit 3: Biochemical Characterization

  • Exercise 21: Phenol Red Broth
  • Exercise 22: Triple Sugar Iron Agar
  • Exercise 23: Starch Hydrolysis (Amylase Test)
  • Exercise 24: Lipid Hydrolysis (Lipase Test)
  • Exercise 25: Casein Hydrolysis (Casease Test)
  • Exercise 26: Gelatin Hydrolysis (Gelatinase Test)
  • Exercise 27: Catalase Test
  • Exercise 28: Oxidase Test
  • Exercise 29: SIM Medium
  • Exercise 30: Methyl Red and Voges-Proskauer Tests
  • Exercise 31: Simmons Citrate Agar
  • Exercise 32: Nitrate Reduction Broth
  • Exercise 33: Urease Test
  • Exercise 34: Phenylalanine Deaminase Test
  • Exercise 35: EnteroPluri-Test

Unit 4: Serological and Genetic Analysis

  • Exercise 36: Bacterial Transformation
  • Exercise 37: Slide Agglutination: Coagulase Assay

Unit 5: Definitive Diagnosis

  • Exercise 37: Slide Agglutination: Coagulase Assay
  • Exercise 39: Identification of Gram-positive Cocci: Infection of a Surgical Wound
  • Exercise 40: Identification of an Unknown Bacteria: Infection of the Blood and Neonatal Sepsis

Unit 6: Control of Microbial Growth

  • Exercise 41: Effects of Oxygen on Growth
  • Exercise 42: Effects of Temperature on Growth
  • Exercise 43: Effects of pH on Growth
  • Exercise 44: Osmotic Growth
  • Exercise 45: Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation on Growth
  • Exercise 46: Effectiveness of Hand Washing
  • Exercise 47: Evaluation of Disinfectants: The Filter Paper Disk Method
  • Exercise 48: Evaluation of Antibiotics: The Kirby-Bauer Method

Chapter Sample

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About the Author

Derek Weber is a professor of biology and microbiology at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, NJ. He received his B.S. in Chemistry from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA and a Ph.D. in Biomolecular Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His current scholarly work focuses on the intentional integration of instructional technology and the introduction of clinically-relevant material to create an active and engaging learning environment across all methods of course delivery. His work has been recognized with multiple recognitions and awards, including the Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology at the International Teaching and Learning Conference. Derek is a member of the American Society for Microbiology and regularly attends the annual American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) each summer.

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