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A Simple Exercise for Teaching Bacteriophage Concepts in the Undergraduate Laboratory Using Commercially Available Disinfectant

    Authors: Latifa B. Khan1,*, Hannah M. Read1,2
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1023, New Zealand; 2: Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, The University of Auckland, Auckland 1023, New Zealand
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 14 November 2017 Accepted 04 June 2018 Published 31 August 2018
    • ©2018 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: Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology, School of Medical Sciences, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1023, New Zealand. Phone: +64 9 3737599 ext. 84492. E-mail: [email protected].
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. August 2018 vol. 19 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i2.1527
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    Abstract:

    Virus and bacteriophage are key components in any microbiology teaching. We have used a commercially available disinfectant (TRIGENE) to demonstrate plaques formation from bacteriophages on confluent bacterial lawns. We have designed a laboratory exercise on phage typing using these plaques in a single practical class to teach the concepts of bacteria-virus interactions, specificity, and diversity in a second year biomedical science course. The artificial bacteriophage-plaques are economical and capable of reliably mimicking bacteriophage effects. Use of the disinfectant to mimick bacteriophage effects eliminated the need to source and reproduce real bacteriophages, enabling fast preparation and demonstration of plaque assay in an undergraduate laboratory. Our phage typing teaching exercise facilitated effective students’ learning about bacteriophages with minimal laboratory skills or instructor intervention.

References & Citations

1. Campbell A 2003 The future of bacteriophage biology Nat Rev Genet 4 471 477 10.1038/nrg1089 12776216 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrg1089
2. Allen ME, Gyure RA 2013 An undergraduate laboratory activity demonstrating bacteriophage specificity J Microbiol Biol Educ 14 84 92 10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.534 23858357 3706169 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i1.534
3. Baer A, Kehn-Hall K 2014 Viral concentration determination through plaque assays: using traditional and novel overlay systems J Vis Exp 93 e52065 25407402 4255882
4. Marintcheva B 2012 Dynamic model visualizing the process of viral plaque formation J Microbiol Biol Educ 13 186 187 10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.432 23653811 3577324 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v13i2.432
5. Burrowes B, Harper DR, Anderson J, McConville M, Enright MC 2011 Bacteriophage therapy: potential uses in the control of antibiotic-resistant pathogens Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 9 775 785 10.1586/eri.11.90 21905786 http://dx.doi.org/10.1586/eri.11.90

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2018-08-31
2019-10-15

Abstract:

Virus and bacteriophage are key components in any microbiology teaching. We have used a commercially available disinfectant (TRIGENE) to demonstrate plaques formation from bacteriophages on confluent bacterial lawns. We have designed a laboratory exercise on phage typing using these plaques in a single practical class to teach the concepts of bacteria-virus interactions, specificity, and diversity in a second year biomedical science course. The artificial bacteriophage-plaques are economical and capable of reliably mimicking bacteriophage effects. Use of the disinfectant to mimick bacteriophage effects eliminated the need to source and reproduce real bacteriophages, enabling fast preparation and demonstration of plaque assay in an undergraduate laboratory. Our phage typing teaching exercise facilitated effective students’ learning about bacteriophages with minimal laboratory skills or instructor intervention.

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FIGURE 1

Student materials per group. Culture plates with simulated bacteriophage plaques showing phage typing of hypothetical aureus strains isolated from three different wards: wards #1, #3, and #6 in the case study hospital.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. August 2018 vol. 19 no. 2 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v19i2.1527
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