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Life Science

  • Bacteria: The Citrate Test In this lab students perform a test on two different bacteria to determine whether the organisms can use citric acid as their sole carbon source. The citrate test is often performed as part of the IMViC (Indole, Methyl Red, Voges-Proskauer, and Citrate) series of tests used to differentiate common species of enteric bacteria. View »
  • Bacteria: The Indole Test In this lab students perform a differential test to distinguish bacteria based on the production of indole. Bacteria are grown on media containing tryptophan and then treated with Kovac’s reagent. If they possess the enzyme tryptophanase, the bacteria can metabolize tryptophan into indole, pyruvic acid, and ammonia. View »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Lipids In this lab, students culture two species of bacteria on agar medium that contains an emulsion of plant oils and the dye, sprit blue, which forms a complex with the triglycerides of the oils and gives an opaque blue color to the agar. Colonies of bacteria that can secrete lipase, an enzyme that hydrolyzes triglycerides, develop a light area or “halo” in the surrounding medium, due to the diffusion of lipase into the medium and the resultant breakdown of the oil/spirit blue complex. View »
  • Debunking the 4° C Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Myth Do samples need to be refrigerated immediately after PCR? No. You can leave them at room temperature overnight—and much longer! The founders of miniPCR® explore why. View »
  • Studying Genomes in the Madagascar Forest Using miniPCR® When it’s difficult to bring DNA samples to a lab, why not bring the lab to the samples? Find out how a portable thermal cycler is changing the way a biological anthropologist performs her research. View »
  • Bacterial Growth on MacConkey Agar In this lab students culture three bacteria on nutrient agar and MacConkey agar and record the results. View »
  • Isolating Bacteria from a Mixture How does a microbiologist isolate bacteria from a sample? In this lab students practice streaking a plate to isolate a single species of bacterium from a known mixture. View »
  • What Genomics Says about Being Human Part I Drastic reductions in the cost of determining the nucleotide sequences of chromosomes have led to an explosion in the field of genomics, enabling scientists to add remarkable depth to our understanding of what it means to be human. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Bacteria What are bacteria? In this introductory lab students make smears of bacteria on microscope slides from pure cultures, perform a simple stain, and observe their stained slides under a microscope View »
  • Introduction to Sterile Technique In this lab, students practice transfer of a bacterial culture using sterile technique. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Archaea In this lab, students are introduced to Halobacterium, a representative of the Archaea, one of the three domains of life (along with Bacteria and Eukarya). View »
  • Bringing Real-World STEM Experiences to the Classroom by using miniPCR For schools grappling with budget constraints, biotech equipment costs can make it difficult to give students true-to-life learning experiences. One biology teacher has found a new resource that makes real-world instruction more affordable. View »
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