Monday, 23 September 2013

"The pure culture is the foundation for all research"

According to Robert Koch, Nobel prize winner and often considered the founder of modern Bacteriology. Koch made important breakthroughs with infectious disease such as Anthrax, Cholera and Tuberculosis. His ideas are still considered important and are used in teaching to this day.

Robert Koch (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

So it it with theme of purity that I mention our new addition to the Jack Ward Laboratory, a Bassaire KV4 vertical laminar flow, which arrived today. Laminar flow cabinets are used in microbiology work to ensure a clean environment is maintained and that no external microbial contamination occurs. 

Laminar Cabinet in place in the Jack Ward laboratory 
They are quite simple in function with a fan sucking air through a high specification filter to remove all aerial contaminants. The clean air is then pushed down into the cabinet, where it is spills out over the work bench. This over-pressure of clean air reduces the contamination of agar plates, ensuring that only the organisms that you are interested in, actually grow on the plates.

We will be using the Laminar flow cabinet initially in the study of lactic acid bacteria. This year my colleague Andrew Atkinson will be investigation the growth of lactic acid bacteria that have a tolerance for low pH and high acidity. We will assessing how well they perform in the harsh acidic conditions of English Sparkling base wines. Hopefully we will be able to establish which strains perform best according to both pH and sulphite tolerance. Interestingly some of the strains we will be testing have originated in the UK, having previously been isolated by Plumpton College students Gwen McCann, David Joyce and Emma Waldron.



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