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The Identification of Unknown Bacteria

The Identification of Unknown Bacteria

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Andrew Healy. Originally submitted for Higher Cert in Science (Bioscience/Chemistry) at Athlone Institute of Technololgy, with lecturer Dr. Andy Fogarty in the category of Life Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Andrew Healy. Originally submitted for Higher Cert in Science (Bioscience/Chemistry) at Athlone Institute of Technololgy, with lecturer Dr. Andy Fogarty in the category of Life Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 The Identification of Unknown Bacteria
Word Count:
3391 words
The Identification of Unknown Bacteria
 The purpose of undertaking the Microbiology Project was to apply theprinciples and techniques obtained from both Microbiology and AppliedMicrobiology in identifying unknown bacteria. Within the project thestudent had to use both their knowledge and scientific reasoning in orderto come to the necessary conclusions. The role of asepsis was importantthroughout the project as poor aseptic techniques may have a hindranceon the results obtained.A vial, Number 14, was presented to the student which contained twomicroorganisms in a nutrient broth. One organism was Gram positive andthe other organism was Gram negative. Staining techniques, Gram stains,were carried out to obtain the morphology each bacteria. The organismspresent were subjected to biochemical tests for taxonomic identification.Upon completion of the biochemical tests it was suggested that the vialcontained
Escherichia coli
Staphylococcus aureus.
Confirmatory testswere carried out to prove that the results obtained were correct.
“Microbiology is the study of microbes, organisms so small that amicroscope is needed to study them”. Black (2005) page 3. The ability to distinguish what bacteria is an important technique withinmany industries, such as food and medical industries. Microorganisms arepresent in nature and are so small and minute that they are not visible tothe naked eye. Therefore, it is necessary to be able to carry out a series of biochemical tests that identify what organism is present. Within the foodindustry the testing of food samples for the presence of microorganisms isof extreme importance. A company who produces a food product thatcontains microorganisms could severely infect the consumer with apathogen. This could have serious implications on the company as thecompany may suffer bad publicity and a loss of sales. Therefore, ensuringcorrect handling and production of the product which is beingmanufactured is of great importance. One microorganism of interest,
Escherichia coli,
however has a use within the biotechnology industry as itis used in the production of insulin. Swartz (April 2001) states “
was the first host used to produce a recombinant DNA (rDNA)pharmaceutical, enabling the approval of Eli Lilly's rDNA human insulin in
Escherichia coli
may be harmful if ingested in contaminated meatsor water.
E. coli
may be found in water, Lucey, J. 2006, pg 22 explains“Groundwater is a valuable resource in Ireland, used in food and industrialprocessing as well as being an important source of drinking water.Consequently this is why the importance of being able to distinguish whatmicroorganism present is of importance.
Staphylococcus aureus
are gram positive bacteria and are one way inwhich individuals may become infected with food poisoning.
produces an enterotoxin protein of 239 amino acids which target thegastrointestinal (GI) tract. They are super antigens and are highlypathogenic with only 1µg/kg required for infection to occur. The symptomsof food poisoning of this kind are generally onset and appear between 1-6hours after ingestion of contaminated food. If one becomes infected themay suffer with symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, and intense abdominalpains. Fever is commonly not noted and the symptoms last approximately24 hours. There is no known treatment for an infection of this sort and it isusually self limiting in that more fluids should be taken in than lost. Foodsoften associated with
food poisoning are cream basedproducts such as desserts, custards, and potato and egg salads.Furthermore, food that is left at 28°C for 2-4 hours with
will haveenough cells grown that may induce food poisoning. The main cause isdue to poor or inadequate food handling, storage at incorrecttemperatures.Even though
infections of food poisoning may be self limiting they can become extremely infectious in hospital and patient caresettings as antibiotic resistance has developed such as that of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus
.Staphylococcus aureus
are gram positive bacteria and are commoncauses of bloodstream and other infections in hospitalised patients. (Rice2006) According to Jensen et al., 2002; Boucher and Corey, 2008,

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