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Laboratory Exploration of Survival of Probiotic Cultures Inside the Human Digestive Tract Using Models

    Author: Srebrenka Robic1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA 30030
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 20 May 2010
    • Supplemental material available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Agnes Scott College, 141 E College Ave, Decatur, GA 30030. Phone: (404) 471-6379. Fax: (404) 471-5368. E-mail: srobic@agnesscott.edu.
    • Copyright © 2010 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2010 vol. 11 no. 1 50-55. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11.i1.139
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    Abstract:

    Scientists often model complex biological phenomena , mimicking conditions found in living organisms. Understanding the power and limitations of biological models is an important topic in undergraduate science. In this activity, students develop their own model for testing the survival of bacteria from commercial probiotic supplements. Students work in groups to decide which factors are important for survival of bacteria in a chosen portion of the human digestive tract. Groups of students create their own models of organs such as stomach and/or intestines. Students expose a probiotic supplement to conditions mimicking the chosen portion of the human digestive tract, and measure the effect of those conditions on the survival of bacteria found in the supplement. Students choose to focus on conditions such as low pH found in stomach or pancreatic enzymes found in the upper intestine. Through this activity, students gain experience with serial dilutions and calculations of colony forming units (CFUs). This project also provides the students with the valuable experience of designing experiments in small groups. Students present their findings in a poster session, which provides a venue for discussing the validity and limitation of various models.

Key Concept Ranking

Microbial Ecology
0.91086787
Test Tubes
0.53364414
Mortar and Pestle
0.49937612
Selective Media
0.49259457
Cell Wall
0.46001977
Chemicals
0.43239117
0.91086787

References & Citations

1. Richmond JYThe 1, 2, 3’s of Biosafety Levels1998Centers for Disease Control & PreventionAtlanta, GAAvailable from: http://www.cdc.gov/OD/ohs/symp5/jyrtext.htm
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v11.i1.139
2010-05-20
2017-05-30

Abstract:

Scientists often model complex biological phenomena , mimicking conditions found in living organisms. Understanding the power and limitations of biological models is an important topic in undergraduate science. In this activity, students develop their own model for testing the survival of bacteria from commercial probiotic supplements. Students work in groups to decide which factors are important for survival of bacteria in a chosen portion of the human digestive tract. Groups of students create their own models of organs such as stomach and/or intestines. Students expose a probiotic supplement to conditions mimicking the chosen portion of the human digestive tract, and measure the effect of those conditions on the survival of bacteria found in the supplement. Students choose to focus on conditions such as low pH found in stomach or pancreatic enzymes found in the upper intestine. Through this activity, students gain experience with serial dilutions and calculations of colony forming units (CFUs). This project also provides the students with the valuable experience of designing experiments in small groups. Students present their findings in a poster session, which provides a venue for discussing the validity and limitation of various models.

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FIGURE 1

Overall success of poster presentation in each grading category (as explained in Table 1 )

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2010 vol. 11 no. 1 50-55. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v11.i1.139
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