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© 2020 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.

BIOL 3702L Home Page     Laboratory Exercises     Laboratory Schedule     Safety Rules

Standard BIOL 3702L Practices

(updated January 6, 2020)

This web-based laboratory manual and its component exercises have been developed with the limited infrastructure and resources available for BIOL 3702L at Youngstown State University (YSU).  The lone microbiology teaching laboratory at YSU hosts multiple sections of BIOL 3702L as well as additional sections oriented towards other health-related professions.  Literally, more than 400 students pass through the microbiology laboratory in an academic year.  This substantial use of the laboratory can create (and has in the past) various challenges, e.g., crowded incubators, inappropriate disposal of materials, lost samples, wasted reagents and media, etc. 

To provide a more positive educational experience requires that students be more aware and disciplined in their work efforts.  To some degree, this can be achieved by implementing a standard set of practices which benefit all participants.  Therefore, it is expected that all participants in BIOL 3702L follow the standard practices set forth below.

Labeling of Materials:

The labeling of slides, tubes, Petri dishes, etc., should be performed using a permanent marker, e.g., SharpieÒ brand. 

With rare exceptions noted within a given exercise, labeling information should be placed directly on the surface of an item.  Tape should never be used for labeling an item unless specified in the exercise directions. 

Unless otherwise directed, all Petri dishes should be labeled on the bottom (agar-containing) half of the plate. 

Incubation of Materials:

Each laboratory section has been assigned a shelf in the 37°C incubator.  Do not incubate materials on shelves that have not been assigned to a given laboratory section.

All test tubes should be placed in an appropriate rack prior to placing them in the incubator.  To conserve space, one test tube rack should be used for students sitting at a common lab bench.

NEVER move another student’s work from one incubator shelf to another.

All materials placed in an incubator MUST be labeled with name (or initials) and a date.

Note: Upon inspection of the incubator, any unlabeled materials will be discarded
by the laboratory instructor.  The student owner of the discarded material shall
not be permitted to repeat the particular exercise component.

Remove all materials from the incubator in a reasonable and timely manner.

Note: Upon inspection of the incubator, any old/useless materials will be
discarded by the laboratory instructor.  The student owner of the
discarded material shall have their citizenship score decreased.

Unless otherwise specified in the exercise instructions, all screw-capped test tubes should be incubated with the lid loosened, but not to the degree at which it will fall off. 

Note: The loosened cap permits air exchange between the inside and
outside of the tube.  With a few exceptions, non-screw-capped lids do
not need loosened and by their nature allow air exchange.

Unless specifically described in an exercise, all Petri dishes should be incubated with the bottom portion (agar-containing half) positioned upward.  This helps prevent condensation that might otherwise form on the lid and fall onto the surface of the medium, thereby possibly causing smeared microbial growth patterns.

Disposal/Recycling of Materials:

Non-contaminated paper, tissues, etc., must be discarded in the normal trash receptacle. 

Contaminated paper, tissues, etc., must be discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

Note: Paper and paper-like materials, regardless of contamination
status, must NEVER be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.
[A HUGE DR. COOPER PET PEEVE!]

Used alcohol wipes (without wrappers) should be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.  The wrapper should be discarded in the normal trash receptacle.

Regardless of contamination status, all plastic bulb pipettes (without paper wrappers), cotton swabs (without paper wrappers), microfuge/PCR tubes, and micropipette tips should be discarded in the bench-top waste bin.

Regardless of contamination status, all serological pipettes (without paper/plastic wrappers) should be discarded in the designated pipette jar or container.

Regardless of contamination status, all glass slides and disposable hemocytometer slides should be discarded in the sharps container.

Note: Do not discard prepared teaching slides.  Return them to their original storage container.

Glass test tubes (containing agar, broth, or other substance) should be placed upright (with their lids attached) in the designated rack usually located in a tray next to the 37°C incubator.

Glass test tubes without a lid should be discarded in the sharps container.

Plastic test tubes (containing agar, broth, or other substance) should have their lids tightly capped prior to being discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

Petri dishes containing agar should be discarded with their lids attached by GENTLY placing them in waste disposal barrel.

Note: Do not toss or throw Petri dishes into the waste disposal barrel.

Broken glass that is contaminated should be discarded in the sharps container.

Broken glass that is not contaminated should be discarded in the broken glass box or the sharps container.

Regardless of contamination status, culture flasks should be placed in a container designated by the laboratory instructor AFTER any tape labels have been removed.

Regardless of contamination status, bottles (used for media, buffer, water, etc.) should be placed in a container designated by the laboratory instructor AFTER any tape labels have been removed.

Regardless of contamination status, all gloves (latex, nitrile, etc.) should be discarded in the waste disposal barrel.

Note: NEVER discard gloves in a normal trash receptacle.  [A HUMONGOUS NO NO!]

If directed, biological liquids shall be disposed by a method to be detailed by the laboratory instructor.

Regarding the above practices, I welcome any constructive comments (crcooper01@ysu.edu)

Youngstown State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, age, religion or veteran/military status in its programs or activities. Please visit the EIT Home Page for contact information for persons designated to handle questions about this policy.

It is possible that portions of this web page are not wholly in accord with the American with Disabilities Act.  If this is the case, a student currently enrolled in this course should contact Dr. Cooper (crcooper01@ysu.edu; 330.941.1361) and compliant material shall be provided as soon as practical.

© 2020 Chester R. Cooper, Jr.