Image via loganpetlak.ca
On October 31st, 2016, our AP Biology class left Central Collegiate to go to the University of Regina (U of R) for the morning. The purpose was to take advantages of the opportunity to do a bacterial isolation lab. It was my first time going to the U of R and I was in awe of the size of the campus and the number of people.
Inside the lab, we met Professor John Stavrinides who is an associate microbiology professor. He introduced the topic of microbiology and what it was. Later, he gave each student five swabs. We had to swab five different things in the common area of U of R. I swabbed the women’s washroom floor, ATM, a classroom’s chair, a stairway banister and the water fountain. After going back to the lab, we were given more swabs. I swabbed my palms, my phone and my cheeks. Doing this lab made me realize how dirty my hands were.
Image of Growing Bacteria in Petri Dishes via stevespanglerscience.com
In the lab, we were given five petri dishes. Two were LB, two macConkey, and one mannitol salt plates. Each plate had to be labeled and then we squiggled them on to the gelled agar on the petri dishes. We sealed all the plates and waited for one day to allow the bacteria to grow. The next day, we looked at our plates and found that some of our plate had shown little growth of bacteria where some other ones didn’t. The bacteria from the women’s washroom floor and the stairway banister had some bacteria showing. The bacteria from my hands were the most visible and there were a lot them showing! It was showing on mannitol salt plate; this means that the bacteria was Gram-positive. I am presuming the reason for my hands to be so dirty is because I was fascinated by the university and I touched everything that I passed by. So, as I walked and touched the objects, many microbes were transferring to my hands. The plate showed the prove of that.
Image via davidsuzuki.org
Discussion that interested me
After analyzing our plate, our class had discussions
Some bacteria showing, and some are not showing on the plate? Why?
We discussed a few possible reasons why this is. One of them is the incubation period. The reason can be very simple; the bacteria just need more time to grow in the incubator. Another could be that since it was at a common area, the place is often sanitized which prevents bacteria from growing on that specific places or surfaces. For example the washroom is a dirty place, the janitor has to clean it everyday to prevent bacteria from growing. So if the bacteria didn’t show up on the plate, it’s all because of the janitor. He or she had cleaned the place properly to prevent bacteria from growing.
There are bacteria that actually beneficial to you body. One is probiotic; this bacteria helps your digestive system. They help prevent irritable bowel syndrome, infectious diarrhea, and etc. They are naturally found in your body. You can also find them in foods and supplements.
Important thing to remember: Not all bacteria are harmful and it’s sometimes is good to be affected by different kinds of bacteria so you can be immune to it. For example, my grandparents didn’t have the luxury to have washroom or shower when they were younger. So when they had to shower, they used the pond that was shared by most people in the whole town. The people had to use the same water to wash the dishes too. (Remember, you can’t drain the water from the pond like you can in regular washroom.) Now you can imagine how many harmful microbes there would have been in that pond. The funny thing is that my grandparents told me that they didn’t get sick much only few time when they were younger and it was just minor sickness.
As a student that’s still in high school, I don’t feel like going to University yet. I don’t want to be part of the bigger world. There might be more freedom, but I feel like my life would be stressful because of homework and being in debt. However, I am interested in going into the medical field, especially in pre-pharmacy and doing a science degree. I am planning to go to U of R for the first 3-4 years then got to U of S for doing the pharmacy program. What I am really exited about going to university is doing the labs; I like to experiment.
My big question: How come there are some people who are more immune to harmful bacteria than others? What makes us different from them? As years pass by, are people becoming less or more resistant to pathogens?
A video you can watch about microbes:
More infomations on probiotics: