1887

Agar Plates Made from Common Supermarket Substances and Bacillus subtilis Natto as an Inexpensive Approach to Microbiology Education

    Authors: Franz-Josef Scharfenberg1,*, Ann-Katrin Marquardt1
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    Affiliations: 1: Center of Math & Science Education, Didactics of Biology, University of Bayreuth, Germany
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Center of Math & Science Education, Didactics of Biology, University of Bayreuth, Universitätsstr. 30, NW I, D-95447 Bayreuth, Germany. Phone: +49-921-553640. Fax: +49-921-2696. E-mail: franz-josef.scharfenberg@uni-bayreuth.de.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 292-294. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.942
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    Abstract:

    To address the possible limitations that financial restrictions may have on students’ independent experimentation at school, we developed and implemented an inexpensive approach for basic microbiology education. We describe four nutrient agars consisting only of everyday substances available from the supermarket or online that we developed to replace standard agars and specific agars. Additionally, we selected Bacillus subtilis natto as an example of a pure-culture species. Our tip first reports the four supermarket-substance agar variants; second, it suggests utilizing them to introduce basic microbiological techniques; and third, it introduces B. subtilis natto in the context of the antibacterial effects of antibiotics as well as of supermarket products which students can bring to class from home. We implemented our approach in microbiology education at school as well as in pre-service teacher education and in in-service teacher professional development courses at our university. Finally, our paper provides worksheets for all the experiments.Editor's Note:The ASM advocates that students must successfully demonstrate the ability to explain and practice safe laboratory techniques. For more information, read the laboratory safety section of the ASM Curriculum Recommendations: Introductory Course in Microbiology and the Guidelines for Biosafety in Teaching Laboratories, available at www.asm.org. The Editors of JMBE recommend that adopters of the protocols included in this article follow a minimum of Biosafety Level 1 practices. If the soil plates described in the activity are opened, a minimum of Biosafety Level 2 is required.

References & Citations

1. Brandl E, Sobeck-Skal E1963Zur Methodik der Keimzahlbestimmung in Milch mit Chinablau-Laktoseagar [Methodology of colony counting in milk applying China Blue Lactose Agar]Milchwiss Ber131120
2. Buchbinder L, Baris Y, Goldstein L1953Further studies on new milk-free media for the standard plate count of dairy productsAm J Public Health Nations Health4386987210.2105/AJPH.43.7.869130655411620353 http://dx.doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.43.7.869
3. Gibson T, Gordon R1974Endospore-forming rods and cocci. Family I. Bacillaceae, Genus I. Bacillus Cohn1872529550 Buchanan RE, Gibsons NEBergey’s manual of determinative bacteriology8th edThe Williams & Wilkins CoBaltimore, MD
4. Kaga T, Arai M2004Development of an inquiry laboratory experiment for upper secondary school biology – a simple preparation method for Bacillus natto cells from a traditional Japanese food “Natto” for Gram staining and DNA extractionAsian J Biol Educ21924
5. Merkel SASM Task Force on Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Microbiology2012The development of curricular guidelines for introductory microbiology that focus on understandingJ Microbiol Biol Educ13323810.1128/jmbe.v13i1.363236537793577306 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v13i1.363
6. Pharmacopeia2010US Pharmacopeia 29 NF-24, Chapter 61Microbial limit tests[Online.]. http://www.pharmacopeia.cn/v29240/usp29nf24s0_c61.html
7. Scharfenberg F-J, Bogner FX, Klautke S2007Learning in a gene technology lab with educational focus: results of a teaching unit with authentic experimentsBiochem Mol Biol Educ351283910.1002/bmb.121591053 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bmb.1
8. Shoichi T1986Nattô kenkyû no rekishi-teki kôsatsuAn historical overview of natto research272Translated and summarized in Shurtleff W, Aoyagi AHistory of fermented black (165 BC to 2011): extensively annotated bibliography and sourcebook [Online]Soyinfo CenterLafayette, CAwww.soyinfocenter.com/pdf/150/FBS.pdf
9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services2009Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories5th edHHS Publication No. (CDC) 21–1112[Online]. http://www.cdc.gov/biosafety/publications/bmbl5/BMBL.pdf
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.942
2015-12-01
2017-11-22

Abstract:

To address the possible limitations that financial restrictions may have on students’ independent experimentation at school, we developed and implemented an inexpensive approach for basic microbiology education. We describe four nutrient agars consisting only of everyday substances available from the supermarket or online that we developed to replace standard agars and specific agars. Additionally, we selected Bacillus subtilis natto as an example of a pure-culture species. Our tip first reports the four supermarket-substance agar variants; second, it suggests utilizing them to introduce basic microbiological techniques; and third, it introduces B. subtilis natto in the context of the antibacterial effects of antibiotics as well as of supermarket products which students can bring to class from home. We implemented our approach in microbiology education at school as well as in pre-service teacher education and in in-service teacher professional development courses at our university. Finally, our paper provides worksheets for all the experiments.Editor's Note:The ASM advocates that students must successfully demonstrate the ability to explain and practice safe laboratory techniques. For more information, read the laboratory safety section of the ASM Curriculum Recommendations: Introductory Course in Microbiology and the Guidelines for Biosafety in Teaching Laboratories, available at www.asm.org. The Editors of JMBE recommend that adopters of the protocols included in this article follow a minimum of Biosafety Level 1 practices. If the soil plates described in the activity are opened, a minimum of Biosafety Level 2 is required.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Use of oven bags within a pressure cooker to autoclave bacteria-cultured agar plates.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 292-294. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.942
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Soil microorganisms on the supermarket agar variants SM1 and SM2, Camembert fungi on SM3, and yogurt bacteria on SM4 (sterilized vs. live yogurt).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 292-294. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.942
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

natto (on SM1) is sensitive to streptomycin (top: left water vs. right streptomycin) and to antibacterial anti-pimple cream compounds (bottom: left control vs. right cream).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2015 vol. 16 no. 2 292-294. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i2.942
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