The Art of Microbiology
Since its earliest inception, when Anton van Leeuwenhoek postulated the existence of “Little Animals”, microbiology has been a wonderful combination of art and science. Van Leeuwenhoek had little, if any formal scientific education. Coming from a family of artisans, it was van Leeuwenhoek’s skill in working with lenses and an innate curiosity that propelled his great discoveries.
Robert Koch demonstrated a tremendous level of creativity and artful thinking while pursuing his work with anthrax bacilli in resource-constrained rural areas early in his career. At one point he used the aqueous humor of ox eyes to obtain pure cultures of bacilli. Later he pioneered more controlled culturing environments using agar enclosed in the microenvironment of a Petri dish.
With each new advance in microbiology, the special skills of the early pioneers have been replaced by scientific advances that allowed the study of microbiology to progress at ever increasing rates of discovery. Automation of microbial sample preparation, plating and enumerating is one such advance that facilitates the ability of microbiologists to be more productive.
Microbiologists, however, have not always embraced technology – especially automation. Unlike the physical sciences, microbiology involves the study of living organisms that have a prodigious ability to mutate and reproduce. Conversely, by its nature, automation assumes an ability to standardize material and process. As a microbiologist, it is easy to understand the desire to preserve the creativity and sense of exploration that our fellow pioneers experienced. Can the science of microbiology truly advance if the process is standardized through automation?
The answer is YES. And, it can be easily accomplished by automating procedures that do not involve the dynamic nature of microorganisms. Advanced Instruments, Inc. has pioneered automated systems for sample preparation, plating, and enumeration that masterfully reproduce common tasks performed by the most skilled laboratorians. Like the advances made by our forefathers, automated sample handling frees microbiologists from the drudgery of repetitious tasks and allows them to focus their interpretive skills to practice the “art” of identification and to analyze data generated by automation. We call this The New Art of Microbiology. Because it allows you to handle more specimens and culture more organisms, we believe it “Adds More Culture to Your Life.”