Common Terms and Definition in Microbiology Laboratory


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– a spray of live microbes ejected from sputtering

– a microscope which the general background or field of view is bright while dense specimens appear darker objects; used for stained materials

– thick layer of substance found on the surface of some bacteria that inhibits phagocytosis by white blood cells

– involves the process of negative staining the slide and staining the cytoplasm of the bacteria making the capsule only the colorless structure which appears as a light halo around the bacteria

– the primary stain used in acid fast staining

– detects species of bacteria that survive on citrate as its carbon source

 – a bacterial enzyme which brings about the coagulation of blood or plasma and is produced by disease-causing forms of staphylococcus

 – visible mass of microorganisms originating from a single mother cell

– microscope with two magnifying lens

 – logical judgment or analysis we make from our results

 – lens system in microscope whose function is to focus the light onto the specimen

 – joining of two bacteria or unicellular organism for the transfer of genetic material by direct cell to cell contact or by bridge like connection called sex pilus

 – the presence of undesirable microorganism that accidentally gets into a culture

 – the group in the experiment that does not receive treatment; used to compare how the experimental group do

 – the factors in the experiment that we control and keep the same

 – primary stain used in Gram staining

 – creates the effect of a negative image; field of view is dark while cells and other objects are lit up; used to observe live, motile cells

 – removes the primary stain from the gram-negative bacteria making it colorless

 – the variable being tested, observed, and measured

 – a medium with diagnostic test built into it that changes color with different species of microbes

 – procedure that will dye different kinds of bacteria in contrasting color

 – a type of experiment which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know which subjects are in the test and control groups

 – a microscope that uses beam of electron rather than beam of light to observe a specimen

 – when a disease prevalence is fairly stable in a location

 – occurs when a disease is spreading rapidly in a particular population

 – the decolorizer used in Gram staining

 – the ability of a substance to absorbed UV light and emit back the light as a visible color

 – mordant used in Gram staining

 – is a hormone that prevents menstruation from occuring during pregnancy

 – a bacterial cell with conjugative plasmid integrated into its chromosomal DNA

 – means more susceptible to infections

 – also called the experimental variable; anything that can be changed or manipulated

 – an enzyme that dissolves the chemical bond between the NAG and NAM within the backbone of the peptidoglycan molecule in gram-positive bacteria

 – primary stain in spore staining

 – counterstain used in acid fast staining

 – warm and moist areas where the number of microorganisms is usually the highest

 – lowest concentration of drug which prevent visible growth of bacteria

 – a substance which causes the primary stain to become more tightly bound to the cell

 – a stain which involves staining the background of the slide

 – infectious disease acquired during hospitalization

 – a general purpose medium that will support growth of many common bacteria

 – also called eyepiece; the top lenses of the microscope which you look through

 – also called the microscopic ruler inscribed into the eyepieces on the microscope

 – an antibody which binds to foreign microbes making them susceptible to phagocytosis

 – occurs when a disease is spreading globally or over one continent

 – means when one lens is focused, the others are also focused

 – a microscope that increases the contrast between cells or portions of cells that vary only slightly in density; used to observe unstained bacterial cells

 – is made by inoculating melted agar with bacteria and then pouring the agar into an empty petri plate to harden, thus the microbes are distributed evenly throughout the agar; creates an evenly distributed lawn of bacteria to be use for phage typing

 – extension of cytoplasm use for movement; also called false feet

– a medium growing with only one intended species of microorganism

 – the bending of light

 – microorganisms that live naturally and permanently in various areas of the human body

 – defined as the closest distance two objects can be where you can still see them as separate objects

 – refers to the actual data that you collect such as the number of colonies

– is a plasmid in bacteria that contains the antibiotic resistant gene

 – medium that are slightly acidic and have extra glucose; also used for fungal growth; used to check fungal spores in the air

 – the counter-stain used in Gram staining

 – a microscope that reflects beam of electrons off the exterior of the specimen; produces 3D view of specimen’s surface

 – a medium that only allows certain species of microbes to grow and inhibits others

 – microscope with single magnifying lens

 – defined as a procedure that stains all cells with the same color

 – measures the amount of acid produced by normal flora in a medium containing sugar

 – occurs when a disease is infrequent and in scattered location

 – the platform below the objective lenses of a microscope used to hold the slide

 – term typically referring to a slide that comes with a known scale on its surface

 – a term which means free of bacteria or living things

 – is performed by spreading an inoculum of bacteria across the surface of an agar plate in such a way as to produce isolated colonies

 – oral bacteria involve with the development dental caries or tooth decay

 – second infection with microbial agent that is resistant to the treatment used against the first infection

 – medium made from scratch with every single ingredient defined and listed separately

 – minimum temperature required to kill a bacteria with a given amount of time

 – time required to kill a bacteria at a particular temperature

 – is the process by which foreign DNA is introduced into a cell by a virus or viral vector

 – is a process of horizontal gene transfer by which some bacteria take up foreign genetic material from the environment

 – microbes that are temporary and can be removed by handwashing

 – is a medium used to transport microbes from one place to another and limits the overgrowth of microbes


Alderson, Gary D. Microbiology Experiments and Lab Techniques 14th Edition. Palomar College. Fountainhead Press. Accessed November 26, 2019.