There are around a trillion microbial species ready to be explored but when it comes to education, how to choose microorganisms for teaching students hands-on? Here are a few tips for choosing and using microorganism strains for teaching students.

  • Procure BSL-1 Microbial Strains

Microbes can be sorted into categories of BSL-1 to BSL-4. The lower the BSL (biosafety level), the lower the disease-causing risk. Therefore, these organisms can be used by researchers to teach microbial handling in their lab classes. BSL-1 microbial strains pose no or low risk. In case BSL-1 organisms are handled by individuals who are immune-compromised, these strains can cause diseases. There are particular guidelines by CDC and NIH to help institutes maintain safety while using these organisms. Refer to the document: Microorganism Biosafety Level 1 and 2 Standard Microbiological Practices

  • Obtain Microbial Strains from a Reputable Source

It is crucial that microbes obtained for educational teaching purposes are pure strains. While procuring microbes, suppliers from reputable sources should provide you with quality certificates to confirm identity and strain purity. It is advisable to follow the supplier’s directions for storing and maintaining the strains.

  • Find Microorganisms Relevant to the Curriculum  

Microbiology curriculum contains a wide range of applications and assays. In that case, it is recommended to procure microbial strains related to the study, i.e., strains found in food, or soil or water bodies, etc.  The document ‘Microorganisms for Education’ lists over 20 BSL-1 strains that are commonly found in the environment. A few of them are:

  • Bacillus cereus: Widespread in soil, milk, and other foods.
  • Escherichia coli: Used as control by food, pharmaceutical, and water laboratories.
  • Lactobacillus lactis: Isolated from raw milk and dairy products.
  • Penicillium chrysogenum: Found in various food products.
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae: Used in baking and brewing.


  • Conduct Interesting Experiments

Attracting the attention of students is the first thing about teaching them microbiology. Using interesting experiments for teaching can help in this regard. Refer to Practical Microbiology for Secondary Schools, A Resource for Key Stages 3, 4 & Post–16, and the Equivalent Scottish Qualifications and Basic Practical Microbiology – A Manual for experiment ideas. Once an interesting experiment is decided, procure microbes accordingly.

Looking for Ready-to-Use Agar Plates?

Microbial experiments can use ready-to-use agar plates to reduce the time for plate preparations in laboratory settings. This can help in cutting a lot of time in the process of teaching students with microorganisms. If your lab is looking for ready-to-use agar plates, contact or call 096543 21400with your inquiries.


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