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Experimental Biosciences Resources

Rules for the Applied Microbiology Laboratory

Planning and preparation for this course is time-consuming and most materials are perishable. To save the supervisor's sanity, the following rules must be followed.


You must attend on the first day, and must plan to work with the team to which you are assigned. You may make arrangements to miss scheduled days as long as your team agrees, but then you will count on the others to do it right without your input. Attendance is a responsiblity issue. Your notebook pages will indicate the extent of your involvement and evaluation of your performance will reflect that involvement.

You are expected to attend all of the formally scheduled sessions unless circumstances beyond your control prevent you from doing so. The Welcome Page lists provides a detailed schedule of activities.

Your responsibilities

It can be difficult to keep up with the needs of a large class because culture materials and assays must continually be prepared and sterilized in advance, contaminated materials must be sterilized and disposed of properly, anaerobic jars must be sealed and re-opened on schedule, and interns will require individual assistance. If forty people each approach an instructor for help just once per day, how much do you think that person could get done? To help ensure that your instructors have time for other responsibilities, please observe the following rules:

  • Each team must prepare and sterilize its own plates, tubes, and/or assay materials. Label all materials with the team designation.
  • Each team will be responsible for cleaning up its materials, including sterilization and cleaning of reusable glassware.
  • You are expected to require some help recalling how to use the microscopes and learning how to interpret slides during the training sessions. After that, questions are welcome, but repeated requests to "please look at my Gram stain" may result in a lower evaluation.
  • Each team is responsible for preparing anaerobic jars and for opening them. There is limited space in each jar, there is a limited number of jars, and generator envelopes cost a few dollars each. Please conserve materials, and share a jar with another group if you have just a plate or two to incubate.
  • Use the incubators for development of cultures, NOT FOR STORAGE. When you have finished developing a culture or assay, remove it and store or dispose of it properly.
  • DO NOT PUT LABELING TAPE on any tube or cap - tape makes cleaning them all the more difficult. Use a marker to label tubes.
  • All contaminated materials must be sterilized prior to cleaning or disposal
    • Plates - place in a disposable autoclave bag (do not overfill - get a new bag if 2/3 full)
    • Re-usable broth tubes and agar slants with screw caps - LOOSEN THE CAP and place the tube in a rack for sterilization, keeping broth and agar tubes separate
    • 13 x 100 mm Disposable culture tubes (assays) - place in rack separately from screw cap tubes. Stinky ones must be placed in the appropriate fume hood.
  • If the size of the group permits, each team will have a designated work area, and share responsibility for one or more microscopes. The designated area must be kept clean, microscopes kept in good working order, and any problems reported.

Created by David R. Caprette (caprette@rice.edu), Rice University 23 May 02
Updated 21 Apr 09
Updated 2 Mar 15
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