Microbiology FAQ

Updated May 14, 2020

Are all lab procedures BSL-1? I found other companies have students’ culture from the environment then work with those cultures which would then be a BSL-2 procedure.

Yes, students do not work with environmentally sourced cultures. Only pure cultures provided by HOL are manipulated by students.

Why not have students culture their own staph by pressing fingers into a plate instead of shipping cultures?

Environmentally collected microbes are not BSL-1. Furthermore, our testing shows that a skin sample contains additional strains of microbes and does not result in a pure culture. The only way for HOL to assure your students work with pure, non-virulent strains of E coli, S epi, and Sacc cerevisciae is to provide them in our kits.

The bacteria were listed in the Student Supplied section. Do they not come in the kit/are they another cost?

Inert bacteria cultures are provided in the kits. Once students activate these cultures, they become student supplied materials.

Are students given the active cultures in the kit?

Yes, they are provided with active cultures.

Both E. coli and S. epidermidis are generally considered safe, but the infectious dose of both is 10^6 or greater. What is the risk assessment of propagating these organisms in an environment with no oversight?

These microbes only pose a risk to immunocompromised individuals. Our instructions clearly state that such individuals should seek advice from a physician before using our materials.

Is it possible to just purchase access to the V-scope?

The HOL V-Scope software and associated slide images are HOL curriculum specific. This software is not sold independently of our experiments.

Do you have any labs without live cultures?

Yes, there are labs without using the live cultures.

I would like to know more about the Virtual microscope feature. Can we get more details on how this works, and/or a demo?

Please contact us through our website and a representative will provide you with a demo.

Do students continuously culture the strains provided during the entire course?

Students are provided with sufficient materials to maintain cultures throughout the term of a standard college semester.

Do you provide students with parafilm to seal their culture plates?

We do not provide parafilm as this material inhibits the student's ability to observe the plated colonies. Rather, students are provided with detailed instruction on how to store and handle all plated cultures, including proper sterilization and disposal.

How are the bacteria shipped?

Bacteria are shipped as lyophilized tablets in sealed vials.

How are students incubating cultures.

Students are provided with detailed instructions for selecting a secure incubation environment within their home or office. Cultures are maintained in a dark environment, free from drafts, and at a temperature of at least 22 C.

Are instructors able to request additional slides for the V-scope that are not already listed here in the Slide Library?

The slide images housed in the V-Scope program designed to allow students to pan and each level of magnification, in addition to focusing on individual slide features. For the reason, instructors do not have the ability to upload static images taken of their prepared slides.

If they are using the Vscope what is their incentive to make and stain a slide?

Students are required to take and upload photographs of all stained slides before placing them under a microscope.

What if a student “spills” stains, cultures, etc.  Can they get replacements?

We provide enough for an experiment to be done twice. But if they keep spilling, they can purchase additional material from us by calling customer service.

Are there other stains that the students can do such as an Acid-fast? How do they solve for the unknowns?  Are the unknowns singe unknowns are a mixture?

Students use direct, negative, and Gram-staining techniques. Please contact us through our website to request a demo of the Identifying Unknown Microbes experiment.

Have a question that isn't answered here? Reach out to info@holscience.com with inquiries.

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