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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 »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Starch In this lab, students culture two bacteria on potato dextrose agar, which contains starch. When grown on potato dextrose agar, bacteria that can secrete amylase—an enzyme that hydrolyzes starch—create a zone around their colonies in which starch is absent. When the agar is flooded with iodine solution, most of the plate stains dark blue–black, but clear areas are left around colonies that secrete amylase. View »
  • Infographic: What's Your Blood Type? Use this exciting infographic as a teaching aid for your classes as your students discover the ABO/Rh blood groups. View »
  • From Jellyfish to the Bench: How Green Fluorescent Protein Is Used in Research Students may be familiar with green fluorescent protein (GFP) from classwork or seeing transgenic animals in their local pet store. However, they may not know that it’s also an important research tool. Use this overview to help them discover how scientists use GFP to study many of the major questions in biology. View »
  • Invertebrate Biodiversity with Berlese Funnels Using soil invertebrates, students identify the number of species present in a soil sample and the number of individuals within a species. With some simple math, they can then calculate the density of invertebrates in a plot. 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 »
  • Bacteriophages in Human Disease: Friends and Foes Help your students understand the connection between bacteriophages and human disease. This scholarly overview explores how bacteriophages have helped and hindered humans in their quest to overcome certain diseases. Use it as assigned reading or to kick off a classroom discussion. View »
  • Carolina's Recommended Reading for AP® Biology Teaching AP® Biology this year? Go beyond the textbook and take students on an exploration of key concepts with these teacher-tested and recommended books. 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 »
  • Snakeheads Invade the United States Teach your students about the challenges nonnative species pose by focusing on a current example, the northern snakehead fish. Native to China, Russia, and Korea, this fish has established breeding populations in several states. Find out how this might have happened and what scientists are doing about it. View »
  • Bacterial Motility In this lab, students perform two exercises that investigate microbial motility. One is on a microscopic level, using the “hanging drop” slide preparation method to directly observe motile cells. The second exercise is on a macroscopic level and involves inoculating motility test media. View »
  • Bacterial Hydrolysis of Casein In this lab, students culture two bacteria on skim milk agar. The protein casein gives milk its white color. Some bacteria secrete protease enzymes that can hydrolyze casein. When these bacteria are grown on skim milk agar a clear area develops around the colonies, indicating that casein has been hydrolyzed into its component amino acids. View »