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Harmful Bacteria

Describes how harmful bacteria can ruin food and cause disease.

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Bacterial ID
teacher Contributed

Some Strains Are Not Better Than Others


Identifying Bacterial Species and Strains

Student Exploration

Name That Bug

In biology, a species is considered a group of individuals who can interbreed and produce viable offspring. This is a very practical and useful definition, but how do you apply that to organisms that don't have sex? That don't mate with other individuals? Well, you can't, and that is why scientists have come up with techniques to identify species in organisms like bacteria which don't have sexes.

Note: Scientists do not usually sit at lab benches with Bunsen burners flaming away.

Extension Investigation

Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. How are species defined in microbiology?
  2. What is a bacterial strain? How does it differ from a species?
  3. What is a partial identification of a bacterium? How useful is this distinction?
  4. What kinds of tests and procedures are used to determine bacterial species? How many tests do scientists like to do when identifying bacterial species?
  5. What is the range of pH for optimal growth of bacteria?

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