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BISC314: Environmental Microbiology


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LAB #1: Learning Sterile Technique and Field Trip to the Cheese Shop

Today we will be taking a trip in to Cambridge to visit Formaggio Kitchen, a famous cheese shop in the area - they even have a cheese cave! Each of you will pick a cheese to be your microbial habitat for the next few weeks. We will sample a large variety and learn about where these cheeses came from. Let's be sure we have representative cheeses from these four main classes:

1. A blue cheese
2. A fresh cheese
3. A washed rind cheese
4. A soft, brie-like cheese

Back in the lab, we'll review sterile technique and inoculate media of various kinds from our cheese rinds. We will isolate a beautiful array of different microbes (both eukaryotic and bacterial) from these cheeses and in the next few weeks you'll be using them to investigate two major microbial community functions: growth interactions and chemical signaling. If you haven't taken BISC209, or if you feel rusty on your microbiology, you might want to peruse the following link: BISC209:Protocols

Streaking out our cheese isolates
1. Make sure to wear gloves and use proper sterile technique throughout
2. Get 4 NB agar plates and label them with your name, the date, your cheese, and what part of the cheese you are inoculating from
3. Flame your loop to sterilize it
4. Pass your flamed loop over the surface of the cheese - you don't need a chunk! Microbes are invisible - don't get a big scoop of the cheese on your plate as this will lead to over-growth
5. Use your loop to smear out this inoculum over about 1/4 of the plate. Use the image below to help guide you.
6. Reflame the loop and use it to dilute this smear further. Pass the loop through the initial, most dense streak once. Then make a second smear on the plate using the loop.
7. Continue till you've completed the pattern below on all 4 plates
Streaking diagram.jgp
8. Place your NB plates agar side up on your bench. We will come back Friday to check on them