Microbiology II

Basic Microbiology Skills Part II takes students beyond Part I to introduce quantitative microbiology and phenotypic analysis. One of the main advantages of working with microbes is that students can easily learn how to work with millions, tens of millions or even larger numbers of cells and can easily understand the importance of populations, statistics, and exponential growth. Students can grow a lawn of Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 cells on agar plates and make serial dilutions to count the number of colonies produced by individual founder cells. Because the colonies are so visually stimulating and variants are readily apparent, this approach opens the way to discussing many more advanced topics in microbiology, including mutations, genetics, population biology, and even panspermia and planetary protection. Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 is an ideal earthly model of organisms that could be found on Mars or exoplanets. This kit is a great way to introduce students to a novel extremophilic microbe and may be used as a precursor for the Extremely Easy DNA Extraction Kit. Step-by-step instructions are provided for the exercises which were developed in collaboration with Carolina Biological Supply Company. For more information, see:

Basic Microbiology Skills Part II

An interesting question for students to consider: 'Could exponentially growing microorganisms serve as the basis for a food chain on Mars?'

Carolina Biological Supply Kit covers

As a companion to this website, we have developed a comprehensive set of laboratory exercises using Halobacterium NRC-1 as the model organism for teaching a wide range of subjects, including exponential growth, colony formation, mutation, antibiotic resistance, motility, flotation, DNA function, transformation, complementation, biotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics.