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Life Science

  • 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 »
  • Using Algae Beads as a Model for Photosynthesis Introduce students to photosynthesis with fresh water algae. By creating algae beads (made of algae and sodium alginate solution), they indirectly observe the change in concentration of oxygen in beads that are exposed to different amounts of light. View »
  • Bacterial Growth on MacConkey Agar In this lab students culture three bacteria on nutrient agar and MacConkey agar and record the results. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Making Algae Beads In this activity students create spheres of green algae for use in experiments that explore the metabolic processes of plants. Includes a materials list and step-by-step instructions. 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 »
  • 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 »
  • Introduction to Photosynthesis Using Coleus Plants The simple exercises that students perform in this lab demonstrate that plants produce glucose through photosynthesis, that plants convert at least some of the glucose to starch, and that sunlight is a critical factor in photosynthesis. View »
  • Introduction to Prokaryotes: Cyanobacteria In this lab students observe two examples of cyanobacteria and make a simple comparison to a eukaryotic green alga. View »
  • Hydroponic Nutrient Solution After a structured investigation of a hydroponic technology, students design an experiment to test different nutrient solutions. View »
  • Photosynthesis Modeling with Pop Beads While studying photosynthesis, students can have difficulty understanding how the carbon in CO2 becomes the carbon in glucose. Use this activity to clarify the process. View »