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A light brown agar plate. Two streaks on the plate are bright pink and two streaks are beige.
On this MacConkey agar plate, the lactose-fermenter E. coli colonies are bright pink. Serratia marcescens , which does not ferment lactose, forms a cream-colored streak on the tan medium. (credit: American Society for Microbiology)
  • Distinguish complex and chemically defined media.
  • Distinguish selective and enrichment media.

The end-of-year picnic

The microbiology department is celebrating the end of the school year in May by holding its traditional picnic on the green. The speeches drag on for a couple of hours, but finally all the faculty and students can dig into the food: chicken salad, tomatoes, onions, salad, and custard pie. By evening, the whole department, except for two vegetarian students who did not eat the chicken salad, is stricken with nausea, vomiting, retching, and abdominal cramping. Several individuals complain of diarrhea. One patient shows signs of shock (low blood pressure). Blood and stool samples are collected from patients, and an analysis of all foods served at the meal is conducted.

Bacteria can cause gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestinal tract) either by colonizing and replicating in the host, which is considered an infection, or by secreting toxins, which is considered intoxication. Signs and symptoms of infections are typically delayed, whereas intoxication manifests within hours, as happened after the picnic.

Blood samples from the patients showed no signs of bacterial infection, which further suggests that this was a case of intoxication. Since intoxication is due to secreted toxins, bacteria are not usually detected in blood or stool samples. MacConkey agar and sorbitol-MacConkey agar plates and xylose-lysine-deoxycholate (XLD) plates were inoculated with stool samples and did not reveal any unusually colored colonies, and no black colonies or white colonies were observed on XLD. All lactose fermenters on MacConkey agar also ferment sorbitol. These results ruled out common agents of food-borne illnesses: E. coli , Salmonella spp., and Shigella spp.

Analysis of the chicken salad revealed an abnormal number of gram-positive cocci arranged in clusters ( [link] ). A culture of the gram-positive cocci releases bubbles when mixed with hydrogen peroxide. The culture turned mannitol salt agar yellow after a 24-hour incubation.

All the tests point to Staphylococcus aureus as the organism that secreted the toxin. Samples from the salad showed the presence of gram-positive cocci bacteria in clusters. The colonies were positive for catalase. The bacteria grew on mannitol salt agar fermenting mannitol, as shown by the change to yellow of the medium. The pH indicator in mannitol salt agar is phenol red, which turns to yellow when the medium is acidified by the products of fermentation.

The toxin secreted by S. aureus is known to cause severe gastroenteritis. The organism was probably introduced into the salad during preparation by the food handler and multiplied while the salad was kept in the warm ambient temperature during the speeches.

  • What are some other factors that might have contributed to rapid growth of S. aureus in the chicken salad?
  • Why would S. aureus not be inhibited by the presence of salt in the chicken salad?
A micrograph of clusters of purple spheres.
Gram-positive cocci in clusters. (credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Key concepts and summary

  • Chemically defined media contain only chemically known components.
  • Selective media favor the growth of some microorganisms while inhibiting others.
  • Enriched media contain added essential nutrients a specific organism needs to grow
  • Differential media help distinguish bacteria by the color of the colonies or the change in the medium.

Fill in the blank

Blood agar contains many unspecified nutrients, supports the growth of a large number of bacteria, and allows differentiation of bacteria according to hemolysis (breakdown of blood). The medium is ________ and ________.

complex, differential

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Rogosa agar contains yeast extract. The pH is adjusted to 5.2 and discourages the growth of many microorganisms; however, all the colonies look similar. The medium is ________ and ________.

complex, selective

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Short answer

What is the major difference between an enrichment culture and a selective culture?

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Questions & Answers

thilosysis beta oxidation us catalysed by
Tirupati Reply
Explain about enzyme transportation
Shahla Reply
Enzyme transportation
Shahla
it looks reallllyyyyy coooooooollll. i love enzymes theyre so cooll and i also like protein transportation so i think it would be really cool so an enzyme transport something so ill do some research and come back to ya in that
maxo
they be ridin' dirty
Bethany
what is the infectious disease process
Patience Reply
what are differences between endotoxins and exotoxins
sabote Reply
endo toxins work in the nuceus. i think
maxo
tell me if im right tho
maxo
Exotoxins are toxic substances secreted by bacteria and released outside the cell. Both gram positive and gram negative bacteria can produce and secrete exotoxins. Whereas Endotoxins are bacterial toxins consisting of lipids that are located within a cell. Only lysed gram negatives.
Abdi
Remebr the Lipid A portion of LPS is what's toxic.
Abdi
oh yeah. thanks
maxo
Your welcome :)
Abdi
How did you learn this?
maxo
For me personally the best book is 'microbiology made ridiculously simple'
Abdi
I got my basics from there and slowly added information from other sources.
Abdi
thats cool! yeah i like microbiology too! especially the molecular proteins theyre sooooooooooo cool!
maxo
PLZ HEP HOW DO aerobic anereobic BACTERIA MAKE ENERGY?!?!
maxo
what are the prokaryotic
Lungu Reply
prokaraytotic is a unicellular organizm that lacks membrane bound nucleus
Zaajid
and whats eukaryotic
abdiqani
eukaryotic cell are cell which contain anuclues and organells
Zaajid
eukaryotes are the cells that have organells which are protected by membranes
maxo
eukaryotic is are multicellular organisms which are open nucleus.
Serah
Explain on the Francisco reddi did to prove the theory of spontaneous generation
Diana Reply
what is parasite
Abdirizack Reply
parasite are organisms feeds on a host for food and survival.e.g round worm for animal, Dodder for plant parasites.
Serah
parasite are organisms that feeds on a host for food and survival.e.g round worm for animal and mistletoe for plant parasites.
Serah
parasite are organisms that feed on their host
Cylla
designing of aseptic area
Aashish Reply
I don't know
Abdirizack
what is rickettsia
DENNIS Reply
what is microbiology
Erasto
Is the science that works with microorganisms.
Rose
richettsa is small microorganisms that cause disease in human like typhus; they are like viruses that can grow only inside living cells, they're transmitted by mites, ticks or lices.
Rose
what is plasmid?
mavis
plasmid is extra chromosomal body present in bacteria...which have additional genetic functions example... antibiotic resistance genes....etc etc
Chaitanya
state the theory of spontaneous generation of micro oranisms and germ theory of disease
UKAMAKA Reply
what are the advantages of high note numerical aperture
Genius Reply
list if non flagellated pritozoa
Mepung Reply
Can someone that's understanding of the Kreb Cycle please explain & breakdown it down to me in the simplest way without giving me the dictionary version or Google version. Basically in there own words of knowledge....!
Kisha
ok
lucas
please can someone help explain positive and negative feedback in simple term
Gum
negative feedback is the arresting of reaction or reverse of the reaction according to the response and postive feed back is the direct response without reversing or arresting a reaction.
Greet
OK
umar
pls can someone explained Kinney stone in memorising in shot time
umar
what tyoebif microorganism will be killed by antibiotic trwatmeant
Mary Reply
I don't really don't understand aerobic respiration anaerobic respiration and fermentation. Can someone explain & breakdown this in the simplest way please.
Kisha
Anaerobic Respiration in which foodstuffs are partially oxidized, with the release of chemical energy, in a process not involving atmospheric oxygen, such as alcoholic fermentation, in which one of the end products is ethanol.
Muhammad
aerobic respiration A type of respiration in which foodstuffs are completely oxidized to carbon dioxide and water, with the release of chemical energy, in a process requiring atmospheric oxygen.
Muhammad
please can someone explain what pseudomonas species and biofilm is?
uju
Fermentation is the growth of cells or microorganisms in bioreactors (fermenters) to synthesize special products. Fermentation in biochemistry refers to the biodegradation of carbon compounds by cells or organisms under anaerobic (lack of oxygen) conditions.
Muhammad
Please under which conditions does pathogens become established in the human tissues and can cause diseases
Atambilla
please the life cycle of plasmodium parasite
mavis
who is John Needham
Mary Reply
John Needham is one of the researcher in microbiology. He also experimented when scientists did not believe animals could arise spontaneously ,but did believe microbes could.
Gum
okay is he late
Mary
by the way what are the list of courses offered by a newly admitted student for microbiology
Mary
Needham's experiments with beef gravy and infusions of plants material reinforced this idea.
Gum
what drugs are given to a person with Otis nerve problem(ear problem)
Gum Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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