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Identification of Unknown Bacteria: Help save baby Kuppelfangs from an epidemic! Virtual Lab

Visit the exoplanet Astakos IV, where the Kuppelfang population is suffering from a bacterial infection. Use staining, differential media and biochemical tests to identify the bacteria so that the Kuppelfangs can be treated before they go extinct.

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Identification of Unknown Bacteria: Help save baby Kuppelfangs from an epidemic!

About this Simulation

Extraterrestrial life has been found! Sadly, some of the creatures have been infected with a bacterium from Earth. In this simulation, you will learn to identify unknown bacteria. Just like in clinical settings on Earth, it is important to identify unknown pathogens for diagnosis and treatment. Explore clinical microbiology techniques, such as differential staining, differential and selective media and biochemical assays, then use your new skills to identify the bacteria.

Explore clinical microbiology techniques

Explore the lab and get to know different clinical microbiology techniques and how they work by playing a mini-game. You will have to figure out how to use all the tools and reagents and guess which results you can expect from each assay. Depending on your level of knowledge, you can spend more or less time exploring the lab and engaging with the explanatory conversations.

Critically combine tests to identify unknown bacteria

Interpret a Gram stain, then culture your sample using differential media and perform the catalase, oxidase and indole biochemical tests on it. Critically combine the results of these assays in order to identify the unknown bacterium. Because different bacteria can cause similar symptoms, the lab assistant Dr. One has taken a sample of another infected Kuppelfang. Help out by interpreting Dr. One’s results or re-do the simulation and choose another Kuppelfang to take a sample of if you want more practice with any of the techniques.

Administer treatment and verify your results

Communicate your results and see whether your Kuppelfang patients improve after treatment. Meanwhile, your colleague on Earth has analyzed your sample with a nucleic acid-hybridization assay. Do their results match your own?

Learning Objectives

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

  • Explain the importance of correctly identifying pathogenic bacteria

  • Outline the principle of the main bacterial identification methods

  • Describe the use and limitations of bacterial morphology and differential staining techniques

  • Critically combine biochemical tests such as the catalase, oxidase and indole test with differential staining and differential media to identify pathogenic bacteria

Techniques in Lab

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

  • Biochemical tests (catalase test and oxidase test strip)
  • Differential culture media
  • Bacterial staining interpretation
  • Aseptic Technique

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