Unknown Bacteria

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Unknown bacteria determined to be Alcaligenes faecalis because of its morphological, physiological and metabolic properties. In a laboratory setting, it often becomes necessary to identify an unknown organism. In this experiment, researchers classified an unidentified bacterium based on its physical structure, colony morphology, optimal conditions and metabolic properties. A Gram stain using crystal violet, iodine, and safranin and a simple stain using methylene blue characterized the organism’s cell wall. Cultural behavior was classified by inoculating the organism onto nutrient agar and incubating it at 37° C for 48 hours, and observing its behavior, as well as using SIM medium to test for motility. Optimal growth temperature was…show more content…
Often scientists work with bacteria that do not come in a labeled test tube— for example, bacterial samples taken from infected human tissue or from the soil—and the scientist must then identify the unknown microorganism in order to understand what behavior to expect from the organism, for example, a certain type of infection or antibiotic resistance. However, because of the relatively few forms of bacteria compared to animals and because of the lack of bacterial fossil records due to their asexually reproductive nature, the taxonomy used to classify animals cannot be applied to bacteria (Brown 275). In order to classify unknown bacteria, a variety of physiological and metabolic tests are available to narrow a sample down from the fathomless number of possibilities into a more manageable range. Once these tests have been performed, the researcher can consult Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, a systematically arranged and continually updated collection of all known bacteria based on their structure, metabolism, and other attributes. In this experiment, we were given a sample of an unknown bacterium and asked to classify it based on its physical and metabolic properties. We hypothesized that the unknown organism was Alcaligenes faecalis, a motile Gram-negative bacillus that resides in water, soil, blood, urine, and feces (Herrera n.p.) It was first isolated in 1896 by Petruschky, who

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