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What is Microbiology?

"Microbiology is a specialized area of biology that deals with living things ordinarily too small without magnification (microorganisms)."

(Cowan et al., 2013)

  • Bacteria (Bacteriology)

  • Viruses (Virology)

  • Parasites (Parasitology)

  • Fungus (Mycology)





Tools In Micro Lab

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The Microscope

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Different Media

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A Very



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To find the bacteria responsible for the illness, laboratorians use different agar media to grow and isolate bacterial colonies.

  • Each type of media have a different recipe of ingredients that can:

    • Inhibit ​growth of some species while promoting growth of others 

    • Visually differentiate species based on a bacteria's biochemical process (color change)

    • Help grow species that are hard to grow normally

    • Help protect delicate bacteria in transport to the lab 

    • Or a combination 


Why does Microbiology results take so long?

FAQ1: Answer:

  1. Sample comes into the lab and gets processed.

    • Patient samples must be processed into the laboratory information system (LIS), put on specific agar media and gram stained.

  2. The streaked agar plates and tubes must be incubated.

    • Depending on bacteria species it can take 24 hrs to 5 days​ for colonies to grow 

  3. Plates will be read

    • Laboratorians must be able to differentiate pathogenic colonies from normal flora for further testing 

  4. Confirmatory testing

    • Biochemical testing

    • Special agar

    • Automation (Microscan or API)

    • etc.

  5. Results are released

    • From Lab to Hospital


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Cowan, M. K., Herzog, J., & Bunn, J. (2013). Microbiology fundamentals: a clinical approach. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

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