Box 41 Aseptic technique

Most commonly used culture media will support the growth of a number of different bacteria. It is therefore essential when working in the microbiology laboratory that suitable precautions are taken to prevent the growth of unwanted contaminants in our cultures. These simple practical measures are termed aseptic technique, and it is essential to master them if reliable experimental results are to be obtained. Any glassware and equipment used is sterilised before work begins. Containers such as tubes, flasks and plates are kept open for the minimum amount of time, and the necks of bottles and tubes are passed through a flame to maintain their sterility. The wire loops and needles used to transfer small volumes of microbial cultures are sterilised by heating them to redness in a flame. Your instructor will normally demonstrate aseptic technique to you in an early practical session.

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