The Microbioogy Culture Chain
There are many steps a microbiologist must take to prepare a microbe study Advanced Instruments, Inc. helps a researcher navigate this Microbiology Culture Chain.
- Sample collection. This can be accomplished in different ways. Swabbing, collecting blood, or air sampling are just three examples. The MicroBio MB2 Air Sampler from Advanced Instruments, provides the ability to collect airborne microbes onto a Petri dish for study.
- Sample preparation. A scientist has many tools at their disposal to prepare a sample for bacterial extraction. In the food industry as one example, a sample of meat must be broken down and the “juice” extracted to yield bacteria.
- Extract the bacteria. Once the sample is prepared, the bacteria need to be extracted. The most common process is by filtering the sample or spinning it in a centrifuge.
- Plating the bacteria. Now that the bacteria are in suspension, getting the bacteria on a Petri dish is the next step. Pour plating and spread plating are the most common methods. Spiral plating a sample onto a Petri dish is an efficient and cost effective way to spread the bacteria on to the plate. The Autoplate SPS from Advanced Instruments, Inc. provides the best option for this.
- Grow the bacteria. Once the bacteria are plated, they need a nice environment in which to grow. Nearly all bacteria require incubation to grow well, but several types of bacteria need more than this. Anaerobic bacteria need an oxygen-free environment to grow. The Anoxomat from Advanced Instruments, Inc. is a microprocessor-controlled system for growing anaerobic and micro-aerophilic bacteria in jars, creating the perfect environment for growth.
- View the bacteria. Scientists can identify bacteria by their colony morphology and appearance on Petri dishes without much difficulty. Often, further study is needed and a microscope is used.
- Count the bacteria. In many cases, microbiologists not only need to know what type of bacteria are present, but how many. Colonies on a plate can be counted by hand, but the most efficient and accurate way to do this is with an automated colony counter like the QCount®. The QCount can count up to 500 plates an hour while hand counting 500 plates can take two technicians an entire workday to complete.
- Diagnose/Analyze. This step is the broadest step in the process. What scientists do with the information they collect depends on many factors. One direction for clinical microbiologists is to measure the susceptibility of the bacteria against anti-bacterial agents. Susceptibility testing can be implemented using antibiotic disks, automated screening panels, or through discrete MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) testing. Advanced Instruments' Spiral Gradient Endpoint™ (SGE™) Test enables a microbiologist to use their Autoplate 4000 or Autoplate SPS to challenge 15 strains of bacteria against an antibiotic and calculate a discrete MIC.