The Virtual Edge

Introduction to the microbiology Laboratory

Overall Objectives of the Microbiology Laboratory

Welcome to Microbiology! The overarching goals for the laboratory portion of this course are to teach microbiological techniques and to show students the impact of microbes on our daily lives and their central roles in nature. During the semester, we will discuss essential laboratory techniques that will allow us to investigate the structure and physiology of microorganisms. The various sub-disciplines of Microbiology including Medical Microbiology, Immunology, and Environmental and Applied Microbiology will be introduced.

The objectives over the course of the semester are to...

  • Become proficient at laboratory skills and safety procedures.
  • Learn to follow experimental procedures.
  • Develop skills to formulate answerable questions/hypotheses, predict expected results.
  • Learn how to make careful observations, collect and analyze data, and draw appropriate conclusions.
  • Utilize active learning opportunity in the laboratories.
  • Demonstrate good lab citizenry and the ability to work with others.
  • Have Fun!!!

The Microbiology Laboratory Manual, Photographic Atlas and Course Web Site

The experiments to be conducted in the General Microbiology Laboratory are outlined in this manual. Students may also purchase A Photographic Atlas for the Microbiology Laboratory by Michael J. Leboffe and Burton E. Pierce. This atlas includes concise descriptions and color photographs of numerous biochemical tests, stains, and other procedures that are pertinent to most of the labs that we will perform throughout the course. It is a VALUABLE RESOURCE if referred to regularly.

At the beginning of every lab procedure, the TA or instructor will give a lecture which will include pertinent background information, tips on how to perform various laboratory procedures, and other important instructions. The lecture notes and any additional course information or visual aides will be posted on the course web site at:

Please check the course web site before each scheduled lab session as additional, helpful information will often be found there.


In this lab we will use Olympus Biological Microscopes. These are better than average teaching microscopes and are very expensive, each costs over $2,000. Handle it with extreme care! The KEY to having a microscope work well is to keep it clean. To eliminate the most common source of frustration in microscopy, be sure to CLEAN the ocular and objective lenses with lens paper BEFORE and AFTER the lab session. Clean up any oil spills immediately and properly store the microscope with a cover. In using the microscope always follow the appropriate procedure as described in LAB 2.

General Information

Section # : _________
Teaching Assistant: _________________________________
Office: AG 6022
Phone: ______________________________
Office hours:__________________________
E-mail: ______________________________

Faculty Supervisor: _________________________________
Office: _____________________________
Phone: _____________________________
Office hours: ________________________
E-mail: _____________________________

Grading Policy

Practical Exam #1: 30
Practical Exam #2: 30
Weekly Quizzes: (best 6out of 7) 60
Assignments/Lab Reports:
Unknown Press Release: 5
Dilution Problems: 10
Pipetman tutorial: 5
Gram Stain Report: 15
Unknown Report (includes hypotheses and references) 25
Notebook: 20
Laboratory Total 200 points

Extra credit opportunities (worth a total of 5 points) will be provided throughout the semester.

_ Assignments submitted late will be dropped by two points for every day they are late. Assignments more than one week late will not be graded.
_ Your grade for MOLB 2210 will be based on a total of 800 points (600 from lecture, 200 from lab).

Required Lab Supplies
Lab coat (There is a limited supply of lab coats in the lab. Lab coats can also be purchased at the bookstore.)
Safety glasses (supplied in lab)

Optional Lab Supplies
Colored pencils/pens
3 x 5 cards (a file box is handy to keep your cards in)

Absentee Policy

Attendance in lab is mandatory. Only University excused absences will be allowed. You must contact your TA or Professor prior to missing the lab and show appropriate paperwork upon your return. Unexcused absences will not be accepted. One unexcused absence will result in the loss of 5 points and two unexcused absences will result in an automatic F in the course. Missed labs must be made up during open lab hours.

Learning Tips

  • To get the most out of a microbiology laboratory, READ the scheduled exercise(s) BEFORE the lab. Not only does this allow you to be efficient and productive in the time allowed for the lab, it facilitates a better understanding of the material.
  • BE THOROUGH! Many of the exercises performed in this lab require several days to complete. Generally, each lab period will involve finishing the previous exercise and then starting another. At times this can be a little chaotic. Therefore, it is imperative that you concentrate on completing each lab by recording all of the results (especially for large group projects), and answering the questions for each lab before starting with the next lab exercise.
  • In studying for quizzes and lab practical exams, you may find it useful to prepare INDEX CARDS. This course covers a good number of specific microorganisms, microbiological tests, and procedures; the index cards may be an invaluable study aid.

Laboratory Safety

  • Lab coats and safety glasses must be worn at all times while in the laboratory. Regular prescription glasses are generally not made with safety glass and thus safety glasses must be worn over the top of these glasses at all times. Safety glass checks will be made throughout the semester and students without their glasses will loose 2 points.
  • Only the materials pertinent to lab work, such as a lab manual/notebook, and other lab materials, should be brought to your workspace. All other items such as coats, books, and bags should be stored on the shelves provided for this purpose.
  • All lab benches must be wiped with disinfectant BEFORE and AFTER each lab period.
  • No eating, drinking or smoking in lab.
  • Know lab safety procedures and the location of the first aid kit, eyewash, and fire extinguisher.
  • All culture material should be handled as if it were potentially harmful.
  • Be very careful with Bunsen burners. Burners should be turned off when not in use.
  • Long hair must be tied back at all times while in the laboratory.
  • Dispose of materials as instructed. Do not carelessly throw materials in wastebaskets or sinks; biohazard waste containers are available.
  • Report any accident or injury immediately to the laboratory instructor so that prompt action can be taken.
  • After each lab, WASH your hands before leaving the laboratory.

Rachel Watson, M.S.
AG 5010
Cell: 307-314-9636