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Development Of An Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Exercise

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Laboratory Experiences for Env. Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.420.1 - 7.420.5



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Paper Authors

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Alexa Rihana-Abdallah

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Session 3451

Development of an Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Exercise

Alexa N. Rihana-Abdallah

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit, Michigan 48219-0900


Environmental microbiology integrates the system boundaries of the various environmental compartments (e.g. soil, water, air, particulate) with the occurrence and proliferation of microorganisms. A laboratory exercise has been developed for this introductory course and encompasses two steps: an introduction to microbial techniques, and an ‘independent’ team - based project. The purpose of the first laboratory section is to gain familiarity with basic microbiological techniques and skills, which will later be applied in the independent project. The topics covered in this first section include microbial culturing and plating techniques, morphology, metabolic potential, kinetic and growth studies. This experience will highlight both limitations of current techniques and possibilities of novel approaches. The independent lab project is structured around the skills learned earlier. Students can choose to grow and study bacteria from various environmental systems. The team-based project will be presented at the end of the term before the class and will highlight the essential findings and challenges encountered. The practical experience gained in this laboratory will enhance the student’s understanding of microbiology in a manner not readily gained through lectures or textbooks. Students will gain appreciation of the intrinsic and external variables impacting microbial growth, proliferation, and adaptability to changing environmental system boundaries.

Introduction to Microbial Techniques

A series of laboratory exercises was designed to provide the students with basic skills and techniques needed to study and characterize microbial cultures. These exercises use either pure or mixed non-pathogenic cultures.

1. Microbial Culturing and Morphology

Microbiological media used in the isolation and cultivation of microorganisms provide the components needed to support microbial growth and function. In this laboratory, the

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Rihana-Abdallah, A. (2002, June), Development Of An Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Exercise Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10775

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