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Modeling and Visualizing Bacterial Colony Purification Without the Use of Bacteria or Laboratory Equipment

    Author: Grace L. Axler-DiPerte1
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    Affiliations: 1: City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY 11235
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 25 February 2017 Accepted 11 May 2017 Published 11 August 2017
    • ©2017 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Blvd., Brooklyn, NY 11235. Phone: 718-368-5745. E-mail: GAxler-DiPerte@kbcc.cuny.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. August 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1308
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    Abstract:

    Microorganisms typically exist in diverse and heterogeneous communities within their various environmental niches. The isolation of an individual species from these communities is an essential laboratory skill to study of the properties and behaviors of that organism. To achieve this separation, the “quadrant streak” for single colony purification is often included in undergraduate microbiology laboratory curricula. To aid student mastery of this technique, I have developed a simulated culture purification activity that allows students to immediately visualize the dilution and separation of an artificial microbial community with the goal of isolating purified colonies. This tool uses readily available, inexpensive, art supplies to simulate a mixed bacterial culture. The “mixed culture” consists of craft glitter of at least two distinct colors, held together with water-soluble, highly pigmented watercolor or gouache paint. Students practice aseptic technique by using a paintbrush to mimic an inoculating loop to streak and dilute the culture on a piece of cardstock. Sterilization of the “loop” is simulated by rinsing the brush. Students will immediately self-assess whether they are correctly performing the quadrant streak, rather than having to wait until the next laboratory session for bacteria to grow, which may allow them to master the technique sooner.

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References & Citations

1. Merkel S, Reynolds J, Siegesmund A, Smith A, Chang A, Hung K, Smith H2014ASM recommended curriculum guidelines for undergraduate microbiology educationAmerican Society for Microbiology
2. Shute VJ2008Focus on formative feedbackSource Rev Educ Res7822817315318910.3102/0034654307313795 http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0034654307313795
3. Kolozsvari NO, Feldman LS, Vassiliou MC, Demyttenaere S, Hoover ML2011Sim one, do one, teach one: considerations in designing training curricula for surgical simulationJ Surg Educ6842142710.1016/j.jsurg.2011.03.01021821224 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsurg.2011.03.010
4. Svoboda J, Passmore C2013The strategies of modeling in biology educationSci Educ2211914210.1007/s11191-011-9425-5 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11191-011-9425-5
5. Makransky G, Thisgaard MW, Gadegaard H2016Virtual simulations as preparation for lab exercises: assessing learning of key laboratory skills in microbiology and improvement of essential non-cognitive skillsPLOS One11e015589510.1371/journal.pone.0155895272533954890735 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155895
6. Herrmann-Werner A, Nikendei C, Keifenheim K, Bosse HM, Lund F, Wagner R, Celebi N, Zipfel S, Weyrich2013“Best practice” skills lab training vs. a “see one, do one” approach in undergraduate medical education: an RCT on students’ long-term ability to perform procedural clinical skillsPLOS One811310.1371/journal.pone.0076354 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076354
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2017-08-11
2017-09-21

Abstract:

Microorganisms typically exist in diverse and heterogeneous communities within their various environmental niches. The isolation of an individual species from these communities is an essential laboratory skill to study of the properties and behaviors of that organism. To achieve this separation, the “quadrant streak” for single colony purification is often included in undergraduate microbiology laboratory curricula. To aid student mastery of this technique, I have developed a simulated culture purification activity that allows students to immediately visualize the dilution and separation of an artificial microbial community with the goal of isolating purified colonies. This tool uses readily available, inexpensive, art supplies to simulate a mixed bacterial culture. The “mixed culture” consists of craft glitter of at least two distinct colors, held together with water-soluble, highly pigmented watercolor or gouache paint. Students practice aseptic technique by using a paintbrush to mimic an inoculating loop to streak and dilute the culture on a piece of cardstock. Sterilization of the “loop” is simulated by rinsing the brush. Students will immediately self-assess whether they are correctly performing the quadrant streak, rather than having to wait until the next laboratory session for bacteria to grow, which may allow them to master the technique sooner.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

The visual simulation tool for the quadrant streak. (A) The initial material the student receives with paint and glitter is “reactivated” by running a wet paintbrush over it several times. (B–D) Appearance of the tool following correct second, third, and fourth streaks. The arrow and circle indicate a single “colony” isolated.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. August 2017 vol. 18 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i2.1308
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