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Gram Stain: How stains and counterstains work Virtual Lab

Have you ever wondered how the bacteria cell actually gets stained during Gram staining procedure? Discover how the cell retains a certain color during the experiment and to differentiate it under the microscope!

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Gram Stain: How stains and counterstains work

About this Simulation

This short, targeted simulation is adapted from the full-length “The Gram Stain: Identify and differentiate bacteria” simulation.

Did you know that almost all 5 million-trillion-trillion bacteria in the world can be divided into Gram-negative or Gram-positive groups? Have you ever wondered how exactly the structural components of the cell wall get stained? Dive into the microscopic world and discover the colorful magic of Gram staining procedure!

Explore the bacterial cell wall structure

Compare and contrast the cell wall of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria by diving into their microscopic samples and observing how the cell wall structures retain certain reagents during the experiment. Discover how the four reagents of the Gram stain interact with structural components of the cell wall to color the bacteria.       

Interpret given samples using a microscope 

Being able to tell the difference, you will use a light microscope to interpret the results of a given Gram stain. View the microscopic image on the computer screen, and remember to  apply immersion oil to increase magnification! Will you be able to identify the presence of bacteria?

Learning Objectives

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • Relate the structure of bacterial cell envelopes to Gram stain outcomes

  • Differentiate the gram positive and gram negative bacteria under the microscope

Techniques in Lab

At the end of this simulation, you will be able to:

  • The Gram stain technique
  • Light microscopy

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Frequently asked questions

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