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How To Write A Lab Report In Microbiology

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HOW TO WRITE AN UNKNOWN LAB REPORT IN MICROBIOLOGY

GENERAL

Unknown reports in microbiology are written in scientific format. Scientific writing is written

differently from other types of writing. The results of the exercise or experiment are what are being

showcased, not the writing. The purpose of scientific writing is not to entertain, but to inform. The

writing should be simple and easy to understand. There is a specific style that must be followed

when writing scientific reports.

Scientific writing is typically written in the passive voice. The pronouns "I", "We" and "They" are

not typically used.. For example, instead of writing "I used a TSA agar plate to isolate my

unknown," it is customary to write, "A trypticase soy agar (TSA) plate was used to isolate the

unknown."

It is also customary to write in the past tense for most of the report. This includes the introduction,

the summary, the description of the materials and methods and the results. The present tense is

reserved for the conclusions about the results. See the examples given below.

Some other general rules that should be followed are:

Microbial nomenclature: The name of the bacterium should written and spelled correctly. The name

should be italicized or underlined. Italicized is preferred. For example, Staphylococcus aureus.

The genus is capitalized but the species is not. After the full genus name is given in the paper, it can

be written as S. aureus, but still italicized. This is as long as there in no other genera in the paper

that starts with the same letter.

PARTS TO THE UNKNOWN LAB REPORT

(Note: Other than the title page, the pages of the report must be numbered)

TITLE PAGE

There should always be a title page and should include the following information:

EXAMPLE OF TITLE PAGE

Title should be centered and at the top or in the middle of the page

UNKNOWN LAB REPORT # 1

This information should be centered and at the bottom part of the title page:

UNKNOWN LETTER (OR NUMBER)

YOUR NAME

DATE (the due date)

LAB INSTRUCTOR'S NAME

COURSE NAME

SEMESTER / YEAR

SECTION NUMBER

INTRODUCTION

This section introduces the reader to the study and why the study was done. This should only be a

few sentences long.

Example: "There are many reasons for knowing the identity of microorganisms. The

reasons range from the knowing the causative agent of a disease in a patient, so as to know how it

can be treated, to knowing the correct microorganism to be used for making certain foods or

antibiotics. This study was done by applying all of the methods that have been learned so far in the

microbiology laboratory class for the identification of an unknown bacterium."

MATERIALS AND METHODS

This is where the details of the study are listed. Where did the specimen come from, and what

methods were used to identify it? Be specific, but do not re write the lab manual. One way is to

mention the names of the materials used and reference the lab manual for the procedure or method

and then continue to elaborate when necessary. See example 1.

Example 1: "An unknown labeled as letter G was given out by the lab instructor. The

methods that have been learned thus far for identifying bacteria have been applied to this unknown.

Procedures were followed as stated in the course laboratory manual by De Mers (1), unless

otherwise noted.

The first procedure that needed to be done was to streak the unknown out on a Trypticase Soy Agar

plate, using the T streak method described in the lab manual.. This needed to be done in order to test

the purity of the unknown. After the plates were incubated and grown, the morphology was

observed and recorded and a Gram stain was performed. Quality control bacteria were Gram stained

along with the unknown to make sure that the Gram stain reaction was done correctly . After

determining the Gram reaction, specific biochemical tests were performed. The biochemical tests

were chosen from the unknown identification tables that were in the lab manual. Since unknown G

was determined to be a Gram negative rod, an oxidase test was performed and the organism was

inoculated into a BCP lactose tube. Note all of these tests were performed by the methods listed in

the lab manual by De Mers (1). Table 1 lists the test, purpose, reagents and results. All of the

following tests were performed on this unknown:

1. Oxidase test

2. BCP Lactose

3. Indole

4.

...

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