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Microorganisms essay writer

Jun 18, 2018

Microorganisms are microscopic organisms that are so small that that they can only be visualized by the aid of a compound-brightfield microscope. While we generally cannot see individual microorganisms with the naked eye, they are present in virtually every habitat known to man. Microorganisms can be prokaryotic—the bacteria or eukaryotic—the algae, protozoa or fungi. While viruses are acellular they are also studied in the scope of microbiology because they are small and because they infect cells.

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Ubiquity of Bacteria

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While most bacterial are unicellular they can also exist in colonial or multicellular forms. In this laboratory exercise you will examine the ubiquity and diversity of various microbes that are present in the environment or inhabit the human body. Most bacteria that inhabit the body are harmless or even beneficial to humans, some bacteria are opportunistic and only become pathogenic when they are present in the wrong place at the wrong time in the potential host.

As microorganisms are so omnipresent, the following exercises are designed to help you learn the importance of proper asceptic technique when handling microorganisms. During the first laboratory exercise you will be examining the examining the presence of bacteria on inanimate surfaces and on or within the human body; furthermore, you will be examining the efficacy of various cleansing agents in reducing the amounts of bacteria associated with these habitats. To this end you will first inoculate a Tryptic Soy Broth (TSB) plate with a sample from the environment.

TSB is rich in nutrients and can support the growth of a number of bacteria or fungi; therefore you will be able to isolate microorganisms from your hands or other parts of the body or from the oral cavity, from your benchtop or from other inanimate objects. With a wax pen label the bottom of a Petri plate containing TSB-agar with your name, date, lab section, and source of the inoculum. It is important to label the bottom of your plates because the lids can sometimes fall off the top of the plate and make identification of your plate difficult.

Select a place to test for the presence of microorganisms. If you are testing the oral cavity or an inanimate surface, use the pre-sterilized cotton applicator swabs provided by your instructor. Remove the swab from the test tube (be careful not to touch the cotton tip) and immediately swab the source of your inoculum. Using the plates provided inoculate the specimen onto the plate. To do this partially open the TSB plate and while continuing to hold the plate by the lid, gently rub the cotton swab along the surface of the agar. Immediately close the plate.

If you are testing for the presence of microbes on the hands, vigorously rub your hands together and gently rub one or two fingertips along the surface of the agar. Now you will test the efficacy of various soaps, chemicals and cleaning agents. If the source of your inoculum was from the oral cavity, then brush your teeth. Use a fresh plate and a clean swab to sample the microorganism present after brushing your teeth. Now rinse out your mouth with your favorite mouthwash, use the same process while remembering asceptic technique to again sample the microorganisms present in the oral cavity.

If you are sampling from your hands or from the inanimate sources, you can use similar techniques. For example, you can sample the microorganisms present on your hands before washing, after washing with your favorite soap or topical cleansing solution or the antimicrobial soap that is present in the lab, after that you can test the efficacy of the hand solution (70% alcohol) that we use in the lab. Make certain that all three plates are labeled clearly and place the plates upside down in the 37oC incubator (plates are incubated upside down to prevent condensation from dripping down onto the surface of the agar).

The plates will be incubated at that temperature for 24-48 hours and then placed in the refrigerator so that you can examine the types and numbers of bacteria or fungi present on the plates at the next lab period. Second Lab Period—analysis of bacterial colony morphology and the morphology of individual bacteria: In most cases, the predominant class of microorganisms that you will find on your plates will be the bacteria. Bacteria have different colony morphologies and characteristics that are specific to the genus and species of the organism. For example Enterobacter erogenes produce large, translucent, off white colonies that appear moist; the edges of these colonies are somewhat undulating and are raised above the surface of the plate, Staphylococcus aureus colonies are small, opaque, yellow, shiny and have regular edges. Enterococcus faecalis colonies are small, opaque, white, shiny with smooth borders. Bacillus subtilis produces colonies that are large, opaque and white; the colonies appear dull, rough and dry and have irregular borders. Figure 1 below shows some typical colony morphologies and characteristics.

Examine your plates for the presence of microorganisms paying close attention to the types of colonies present and the numbers of colonies that are present on you plate. Observe the control plate; this is the plate containing an inoculum from a source that has not been cleaned. Describe what you observe in the space below—feel free to draw pictures. (Note: if colonies are not present on your plate, observe the plate of your neighbor). Pick two colony types and describe them fully using Figure 1 as a guide.

Also describe these colonies in terms of their consistency, that is whether they are transparent, translucent or opaque. Observe the plate that contains your inoculum after the first cleaning step (if applicable). What do you observe? Observe the plate that contains you inoculum after the second cleaning step (if applicable). What do you observe? Now that you have observed the morphology and the characteristics of two different colonies in some detail, you will apply what you have learned in the previous laboratory exercise (Use of the Compound Brightfield Microscope) to examine individual bacteria within these colonies.

Bacteria have three typical morphologies: the cocci (spherical bacteria), the bacilli (rod-shaped bacteria) and the spiral or curved shaped bacteria, such as the spirillum, the spirochetes and the Vibrio spp. Using the technique that you used in the microscopy exercise you will prepare a wet mount of bacteria from the two colonies that you have just studied. (Note:: If the numbers of bacteria on your plate are too numerous to pick from an individual colony sample bacteria from your neighbor’s plate. ) Place a small drop of sterile media onto a microscope slide.

Take a small sample of the bacteria from the colony using your inoculating loop. It is important that you use asceptic technique when sampling the bacteria as you will be looking at a pure bacterial sample. Flame your inoculating loop as shown by the instructor and allow the loop to cool without waving the loop it the air. When you sample the bacteria make certain that you can barely see the inoculum on the loop; there are approximately 30,000 bacteria in such a small sample, if you inoculate with too much, you will not be able to observe individual bacteria.

Mix the bacteria on the loop in the media on the microscope slide and using the same method that you used in the previous exercise to observe live bacteria in the hay infusion, place a coverslip over the bacterial suspension. View the bacteria at 450X and at 1000X. Describe the bacteria in terms of shape under each magnification: Colony 1: Colony 2: Are any of the bacteria motile? Can you distinguish between Brownian motion, current flow or purposeful bacterial movement as mediated by flagella? How so? Save your plates for the next week’s exercise where you will use simple and differential stains to view bacteria!

Demonstrations of microbial diversity: The class of microorganisms that you isolated from the oral cavity or from your hands most likely did not represent the fungi. However, you may have found that fungi were present on inanimate surfaces. Pathogenic fungi can be found in tissues of humans; such organisms might include Candida albicans which is the causative agent of yeast infections in women or Trichophyton spp. that cause Athlete’s foot fungus. Today, we will observe three different nonpathogenic fungi to address the different forms fungi may assume.

Aspergillus niger and Penicillium notatum represent the filamentous fungi, while Saccharomyces cerevisiae represents the unicellular yeast forms of fungi. The filamentous fungi have long narrow cells that form hyphae or branching filaments. Hyphae form interwoven mats called mycelia that are the structural units of the spore bearing structures in fungi. Spores are small structures that are relatively resistant to adverse conditions of heat, pH etc. Hyphae that are partially divided by crosswalls are septate, while those that do not have crosswalls are nonseptate.

Most hyphae have more than one nucleus present and are therefore, multinucleate. The yeast forms of fungi are unicellular and uninucleate. When yeast reproduce asexually they do not form spores like the filamentous fungi, however with the aid of a microscope one can observe the presence of small bumps or buds on the surface of a yeast cell that result from an unequal division of the cytosol after mitosis. A plate culture of Aspergillus niger, Penicillium notatum and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been placed under a dissecting microscope in the back of the lab.

Draw a picture of one or both of the filamentous fungi and the yeast in the space provided below, noting the presence of the mycelia and the spore forming structures in the Aspergillus niger and Penicillium notatum species. Note how macroscopically the Saccharomyces cerevisiae do not have these structures and appear like bacterial colonies. Prepared slides of Aspergillus niger and Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been placed under a Compound Brightfield microscope at a total magnification of 450X; these slides are also located in the back of the lab.

Locate the spore bearing structures at the ends of the hyphae of the slide containing Aspergillus niger. Draw a picture of the hyphae and the spores and any nuclei that are present in these structures, describe the size and shape of the spores. Observe the slide containing Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Identify the the nucleus that is present within the cell and buds that are on the surface of the cell. Draw a picture of what you observe.

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Introduction to Microbiology

Two student responses

For this unit’s Discussion, you will engage in a Discussion about the beginnings of microbiology. As you will learn, the “birth” of microbiology impacts your daily life on many levels. During the unit, discuss the events and scientists that led to what is known of modern microbiology with your classmates.

Original post.

Discussion Topic: Understanding Microbiology

  1. If you were to explain the field of microbiology to a high school student, how would you describe it? What is the field of microbiology all about?
  2. Why would a general understanding of the principles of chemistry help them understand microbiology? How are the two sciences related?
  3. Choose one scientist from your Readings and discuss his or her contributions to the field of microbiology. Why do you believe these contributions are significant?
  4. Why do you think it is beneficial to have knowledge of microbiology? Does it apply to your career and your day-to-day life? Explain.

Student 1

Preston Reid

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3/23/2016 5:41:46 PM

Hello Professor and Classmate

Hello Everyone! If I had to explain the field of Microbiology to a high school student I would first ask them what they think they know about Microbiology. I would describe it by showing them picture Show More

Hello Everyone!

If I had to explain the field of Microbiology to a high school student I would first ask them what they think they know about Microbiology.  I would describe it by showing them pictures and reading to them what they say and what they mean.  In its Eleventh Edition, Microbiology: An Introduction helps you make the connection between microbiological theory presented in the text and real-world applications, encouraging you to see the connection between human health and microbiology (Microbiology, Tortora, 2013).  Microbiology and Chemistry are not the same but you can a lot of different thing from both of them.  Not, two sciences are the same because there are some many of them.  Anton Van Leeuwenhoek was probably the first actually to observe live microorganisms through the magnifying lenses of more than 400 microscopes he constructed. Between 1673 and 1723, he wrote a series of letters to the Royal Society of London describing the “animalcules” he saw through his simple, single-lens microscope (Microbiology, Tortora, 2013).  I think Microbiology would help my career because it can help me learn about the different thing in the wood when I becomes a forest ranger.

The online Kaplan textbook Gerard J. Tortora 2013!/4/2/18/6/[email protected]:0

Student 2

Alice Miller

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3/24/2016 6:44:26 PM

Unit 1 Discussion

The first thing I would tell the high school student is that humans and animals are not the only things that are living and microbiology studies other signs of life. The field of microbiology shows u Show More

The first thing I would tell the high school student is that humans and animals are not the only things that are living and microbiology studies other signs of life.  The field of microbiology shows us the world of bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms in our bodies.

It is good to have a general understanding of the principles of chemistry because most happenings of microorganisms are chemical reactions (Tortora, 2011).  Chemistry studies molecules and how they can be combined and changed.  Microbiology and chemistry are related because in order to comprehend the changes that happen in microorganisms, one must need to know how the molecules are made and act together (Tortora, 2011).

Louis Pasteur is a scientist that made a huge breakthrough in the microbe world.  Pasteur conducted many experiments and studies to show that microbial life could be destroyed with heat (Tortora, 2011).  These findings unearthed the basis of aseptic techniques (Tortora, 2011).

Understanding the basis of microbiology and chemistry is essential to my career.  Prior to this course, I thought nutrition was just about food and anatomy.  My eyes have been opened, and I am realizing that microbiology and chemistry are like a connecting piece for my path on nutrition.  What happens to the food in your body is chemistry.  Carbohydrates, lipids, and protein are all organic compounds, and understanding how they are made up will help me have a better understanding on the effects they can have on the human body.  Food is made up of microbes.  Understanding the growth of microbes and health benefits it can do to for the human body will also help me better not only my health, but the patients I get to work with.

Tortora, Gerard J., Funke, B. R., Case, C. L. (12/2011). Microbiology: An Introduction, 11th Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from



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