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Introduction to Bacteriology 304

From the C. B. E. Course Description:  Bacteriology 304 introduces students to the microbial world by doing investigative experiments often on samples that the students bring in. The course has three goals. First, to introduce students to the basic techniques used by scientists to investigate the fascinating world of microorganisms. The experiments in the course will instruct students in microscopy, aseptic technique, the biochemistry, physiology, genetics and molecular biology of microorganisms. A second goal is to introduce students to the major representative groups of microorganisms. Students will examine microorganisms that are important in antibiotic production, in sewage treatment, in disease, in food manufacture, and in ecology, to name a few. The third and most important goal is to teach the scientific process. Learning how to be a good scientist involves developing hypotheses, designing experiments, performing experiments, collecting data, analyzing it critically, and reporting it to others.

One of the innovations in this course has been the development and use of discussion groups. Click here.

Laboratory Teaching Personnel for This Semester

  Graduate Students Undergraduate Students Coordinator and Additional Instructor
Section 001
(MW afternoon)
Ryan Newton
Greg Richards
Anders Christopher Boyd
Adam Brinkman
John Lindquist
(Office hours: MW 10:30-noon plus other times as arranged. Not available during lab preparations or TR noon hour.)
Section 002
(TR morning)
Yolande Chan (We just could not fill this spot!)
Section 003
(TR afternoon)
Mary Pat Craver
Carolyn Lipke
Cristin Heyroth



12/10/03:  (Additional comments inserted 12/30/03.)










Links to Supplementary Information

The following are links to web pages (on this 304 site and elsewhere – in addition to those indicated in the links above) that can help in your understanding of some of the important concepts covered so far. Some have been referred to in the lab lectures already and/or have had sections included in handouts and other material. Items 6-9 can help to supplement the nutrition lecture(s). Please inform us of other pages you find more helpful, and we will include them here.

  1. Aseptic Technique Procedures including how to hold the tubes and loops and how to use the pipettor properly.
  2. Review of the Light Microscope which we use to observe stained smears.
  3. Review of the Phase-Contrast Microscope.
  4. Dilution Plating: All you need to know, covered in two pages.
  5. Dr. Scott Cayley's explanation of the selectivity of MacConkey Agar is here.
  6. Bacterial Nutrition.
  7. Review of Catabolism.
  8. Thioglycollate Medium and the Concept of Oxygen Relationships.
  9. Glucose O/F Medium. The white-board diagram shown in lab is reproduced here.
  10. More differential media we use in lab can be found on the Differential Media Site – including Glucose Fermentation Broth, MacConkey Agar, Motility Medium and Starch Agar.
    A good thing to keep in mind: When we are determining whether an organism can ferment a certain sugar by looking for an acidic reaction, realize that there is (usually) also an alkaline reaction happening due to deamination of the amino acids in medium ingredients such as peptone and yeast extract; one normally does not learn about this alkaline reaction and comes away from a bacteriology lab course believing a negative reaction has to be neutral. We expect that any acid produced from fermentation (if it occurs) will overneutralize the alkaline reaction. Features found in many of our differential media are tabulated here. With a pattern in mind, none of these media have to be learned (or taught) "from scratch" as a special case, and one can use these principles to formulate new selective-differential media to help us isolate certain types of organisms.
  11. Bacteriology 102's Growth Curve Page can help with some of the theory in Experiment 4.
  12. Bacterial Identification. This page has a useful table to help you sort out your nature isolates and was, in fact, made years ago with Bact. 304 in mind.
  13. Bact. 102's pages on the enrichment & isolation concepts may have some useful information. Click here.
  14. The three quizzes given this semester are archived on this site: Quiz 1, Quiz 2, Quiz 3.

Page last modified on 12/30/03 at 11:00 AM, CST.
John Lindquist, Department of Bacteriology,
University of Wisconsin – Madison