Question about making cultures

trook at my-dejanews.com trook at my-dejanews.com
Sat Jan 23 23:26:31 EST 1999

In article <3687df0f.531261251 at news2.newscene.com>,
  pudel at thomasville.com (Phillip Udel) wrote:
> This is the first time in your group and I would like to ask a few
> questions.
> I have a small farm here in Thomasville NC.
> I raise primarily reptiles.  My interest in microbiology is this:
> When animals get sick (URI Mostly) I would like to be able to classify
> the bug so I can administrator the right antibiotic.
> If I could answer the following questions:
> Is it gram positive bacteria or gram negative bacteria?
> Then I would know to use  Penicillin or oxytetracycline.
> If I want to know what type of bug I am fighting I have to take a
> sample
>  to a vets and $40.00 later I get the results.
> Is there a way to do these types of tests myself?

To be able to identify your bacterial infections as either gram positive or
negative you will have to purchase quite a bit of equipment (for traditional
gram staining techniques).  What a gram stain does is actually staint the
bacterial cell wall based on the composition of phosopholipids and proteins.
Bacteria is divided into to major categories based on this characteristic. 
To perform these tests you would need to first culture the bacteria.  This
would require purchasing growth media, petri dishes, sterile inoculating
loop, and a incubator capable of maintaining temperature of 32 - 37 degrees
Celsius.  Then you would have to stain the bacteria with gram stain technique
which requires 3 to 4 stains.  You would also need a light microscope and all
the appropriate equipment (immersion oil, slide paper, objective lens).  And
then you would have to learn how to interpret the results gram positive
bacteria stain purple and gram negative stain pink to red.  You would also
have to know how to classify the bacterial morphology of these cells when
viewed under the microscope.  In short it would takes a lot equipment and
know-how to perform these test properly because contaminating a bacterial
sample is very easy to do if you are not properly instructed in asceptic
techiques.  Depending on how often you really need to diagnose these bugs I
would suggest that you pay the $40 and call it a day.  If you would like to
pursue getting equipment together I may be able to consult you, send me a
request to trook at stratos.net  Hope this helps. Tony A. Rook Microbiology

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