Planning to set up a microbiology lab but don’t know what is the essential laboratory equipment for microbiology? Don’t worry. Though microbiology is a huge subject, below we’ve listed some common instruments to give you something to start with. Following we’ve discussed 22 microbiology lab equipment along with their working principle and usage to help you make the lab well-equipped for your needs.
Laboratory Equipment for Microbiology
Microbiology equipment is a huge category that covers a wide range of items used in the microbiology lab. The study of microbiology includes plants, viruses, protozoans, fungi, parasites, and cells.
Even many industries use microbiology for various quality control purposes to make sure there are no living contaminants. They also use it to find out the type of contaminants to understand the solution to the problem.
It’s a type of balance that is used for measuring the accurate volume of liquids, solid objects, granular substances, and powders. The analytical balance is an electronic device and utilizes the magnetic force restoration principle to provide readability up to 0.0001 g.
It’s made with a measuring pan along with a transparent cover to prevent air currents or small particles from attaching to the pan. It uses the essential pressure to offset the mass instead of measuring the mass.
The analytical balance is a highly accurate tool designed with advanced technology for the effective completion of tests like formulation, purity analysis, density determination, and quality control tests.
It’s a pressurized chamber that is used for the sterilization process and disinfection by pressure, time, and steam. The primary purpose of this microbiology lab equipment is to sterilize laboratory supplies and culture media. Though there are varieties of types of autoclaves out there, the pressure cooker laboratory autoclave is the most common type.
In addition, the whole item within the autoclave maintains direct contact with the steam for a certain period despite the material’s nature whether it is plastic ware, liquid, or glassware. The required temperature and time depend on the material type being sterilized and the rises in heat on the cycle allow for little periods.
The most common usage of an autoclave is the sterilization of lab or medical equipment with the ability to sterilize lots of materials at a time. The autoclave also uses to prepare the culture media during lab applications.
The Bunsen burner is a type of gas burner that sterilizes materials using dry heat. It can provide up to 1870 degree C. its need to hold the material vertically in the flame until get red hot. This microbiology lab equipment needs gas.
Some common uses of Bunsen burner are sterilizing the materials, spatula, and the tip of forceps. Some laboratories also use it to flam the tube’s mouths and the flasks after and before use as well as take out the bubbles formed when pouring media.
The Bunsen burner is prepared of a metal tube on the level base and a gas inlet at the tube’s bottom. It also has an opening on the side of the tube that can be rotated using a collar to control the air that can get in.
After connecting the burner to the gas source, the gas pressure forces the gas so it can reach the top where the flame is fired with lighter or match. The Bunsen burner is used for various processes like combustion, sterilization, and heating. It is also used for micro-loop sterilization in microbiology and a medical lab.
This microbiology lab equipment helps separate gas, fluids, or liquid depending on the density. The centrifuge comes in various types depending on its designed motor or purpose including refrigerated benchtops centrifuges, microcentrifuges, benchtop centrifuges, clinical benchtop centrifuges, and vacuum centrifuges.
The common application of centrifuge is the division of particles balanced in a suspension. It is also used for the separation of nucleic acid, cell organelles, separation of isotopes, and blood components.
The primary purpose of using the colony counter is to calculate the liquid culture density by calculating the number of CFU on the culture plates or agar.
This lab equipment counts colonies automatically in the agar plate. It utilizes fluorescent labels or the difference between the dark and light areas on the plate to count the colonies.
The colony counter can hold different plate’s size that is scanned on top using UV, fluorescent illumination, or white light. This device allows the lab operator to achieve the counting either using a digital counter or manually by touching pressure.
The deep freezer preserves culture for a longer time without causing a change in the microorganism’s concentration. Hence many microbiology labs use deep freezers to store and preserve various items including food items, medical equipment, injections, or medicines for a longer time.
This lab equipment uses for mixing various materials and liquids like plants, tissue, soil, and food. The homogenizer can help get a consistent and uniform mixture. This device can mix immiscible substances no matter how large these vary in size.
Apart from homogenizing the solution, this equipment works in suspending, dispersing, emulsifying, grinding, and dissolving the materials.
The primary use of homogenizers is to disrupt cells to get cell organelles for a range of microbiological processes. It is also used before the purification and extraction of various macromolecules like nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids.
This lab equipment provides heat to materials and solutions evenly. Compared to the Bunsen burner, the hot plate is a much safer option as it doesn’t have an open flame. In the microbiology lab, this equipment is used to make biochemical media and agar media. The hot plate comes in several types depending on the materials used to make the plate. The most common materials used in making the plate are glass, aluminum, and ceramic.
This lab equipment uses the flow of electricity to produce heat. The electricity runs through the coils on a hot plate that has a higher level of electrical resistance. The coil’s resistance transfers the electrical energy into heat energy to release heat. Hot plates use to heat various components and glassware in the lab.
Hot Air Oven
The hot air uses dry heat to sterilize medical samples or equipment. The function of this hot air oven is sterilizing glassware like flasks, pipettes, scissors, and metallic instruments. This microbiology lab equipment performs on dry substances and materials that don’t catch fire or melt under high temperatures.
The hot air oven comes in two types depending on the working principle. Firstly, the forced air hot air oven distributes the heated air throughout the oven using a fan. It prevents the increase of hot air through the top and keeps the cold air at the base level.
Conversely, in the static air hot air oven, the heat that the coil produces remains present at the oven’s bottom with no fan. Hence the hot air increases without letting the material’s effective sterilization. The components within the oven receive heat and move it through the center maintaining one layer at a time to ensure effective dry heat sterilization.
In general, lab operator uses hot air oven to sterilize various materials like metal equipment, glassware, powder, etc. it also allows them to destruct bacterial spores and microorganisms.
This microbiology lab equipment is used for the growth and maintenance of cultures and microorganisms. It offers optimal pressure, temperature, moisture, and other thing needed for the microorganism’s growth.
The incubator is made of a double-walled chamber where the front chamber has a glass door. There is also a thermostat that controls the temperature of the incubator and stops the heat supply until the device reaches the desired heat. Another helpful component is the thermometer which records the temperature.
Microbiology lab uses various types of incubators and the common option is potable incubators, benchtop incubators, shaker incubators, CO2 incubators, and cooled incubators. The common usage of incubators includes hematological studies, cell culture, biochemical studies, and pharmaceutical studies.
The laminar hood is used for processes of microbial contamination. It’s typically made of stainless steel without leaving any corners and joints to prevent bacterial spore accumulation. This equipment makes a sterile environment using the sterile air flow through a HEPA filter.
Apart from that this microbiology lab equipment is used to perform the processes that are prone to contamination. It’s also a handy instrument that uses in various experiments connected to plant tissue culture and genetic transformation experiments.
The magnetic stirrer is used for mixing liquids in the microbiology lab. It’s typically made of a rotating magnetic field and coupled with a heating system. The magnetic stirrer is used for combining lots of liquid components in a mixture of a microbiology lab. It’s a fairly quiet device and reduces the risk of contamination, hence replacing other stirrers.
Microbiologists used this device to get an exceedingly close look at minute particles like microorganisms. The microscope is made of a single or a combination of lenses that allow for enlarging the minute object’s image. Microscopes come in two types including electron microscope and light microscope.
In addition, the electron microscope comes in two different types including scanning electron microscope and transmission electron microscope while the light microscope has four different types. And they are dark field, fluorescence, bright field, and phase contrast. The parts of the microscope are the eyepiece, stage, objective, condenser, light source, diaphragm, and adjustment knobs.
In terms of usage, different types of microscopes use for different purposes. However, microscopes mostly use for the examination of minute particles that can’t be watched with the naked eye.
The micropipette is semi-automatic equipment that uses to dispense and withdraw the liquid sample using disposable pipette tips. This way, it avoids the possibility of human pollution in the lab and helps get an accurate measurement of the sample and reagent.
This microbiology lab equipment help in amplifying RNA and DNA sample using the PCR process. It consists of a thermocycler to control the specimen’s temperature in a holding block. It then allows the reannealing and denaturation of samples using various reagents. Then the amplified gene can be used in sequencing, cloning, analyzing, and genotyping the sample.
The refrigerator offers a low temp environment that preserves the stock culture and materials that can destroy and decompose keeping at room temperature. The perfect temperature of the refrigerator is around 4 to 5 degrees C while some models can provide -20 to -40 degrees C.
In a microbiology lab, the refrigerator is used to store culture, blood, media prepared, antibiotics, serum, and other chemicals.
The pH meter was used to measure the H-ion concentration in a water-based solution to find out the alkalinity or acidity. It is also called as a potentiometric pH meter that can measure the variation in electric impending between the pH electrode and the reference.
It also uses to measure the acidity of cultures, soil, pharmaceutical chemicals, and water treatment plant. In addition, the pH meter is also a handy piece of equipment to measure the acidity level in cheese and wine during production.
Its optical equipment used to measure the light intensity concerning wavelength. The spectrophotometer can also do quantitative analysis depending on the light soaked up by a colored solution. Depending on the light’s wavelength, the spectrophotometer comes in two types including IR spectrophotometer and UV-visible.
In addition, the spectrophotometer is made of a combination of two devices including a photometer and a spectrometer. It produces light of the preferred wavelength.
In the microbiology lab, the spectrophotometer is used for measuring the substance concentration of nucleic acids, bacterial growth, protein, and enzymatic reactions.
The vortex mixer is used in the microbiology lab to mix various lab samples in well plates, test tubes, or flasks. It consists of a motorized drive shaft placed beneath the sample platform that swings quickly and changed the orbital motion of the sample container which turns into the turbulent flow known as a vortex.
The vortex mixer usually uses to mix lots of sample fluids in the sample tubes.
The water bath is common laboratory equipment used in a microbiology lab for chemical reactions that needs a controlled environment at a certain temperature. This equipment consists of a thermostat that controls the temperature of the water bath. It also has an insulating box of electrodes and steel to offer warmth.
This device also has a sensor that moves the water temperature to a suggested value that is then amplified and the control system produces a signal for the heating system. As a result, the device heats the water to the required temperature.
In the microbiology lab, the water bath is used for media preparation, incubation, and maintaining temperature. The water bath is also an ideal choice for heating chemicals that can be flammable under direct explosion.
This microbiology laboratory equipment uses a distillation process to purify water. In the distillation process, water first needs to boil and concentrated into the liquid to get pure distilled water. The common use of distilled water in microbiology labs is performing lots of tests and preparing culture media.
Apart from the microbiology lab, this equipment is commonly used in organic chemistry laboratories, medical laboratories, medical industries, and microbiology laboratories.
Considerations for Buying Microbiology Equipment
Before purchasing microbiology equipment, you should consider the type of organisms that will perform in your lab. While some microbiology equipment is required in most labs, other equipment like stains and mediums need for a certain type of microorganism. Hence these kinds of equipment aren’t required for all microbiologists.
Another example is a slide which comes in plenty of types including concave slides, flat glass slides, and grids printed slides. So before choosing any slides, determine how much space is available in your lab for the tool like incubators, autoclaves, and laminar flow hoods.
Hope you’ve got enough laboratory equipment for microbiology to furnish your microbiology lab. But before opting for that equipment, determine the type and number of studies and tests you’ll perform in the lab to make the list worthwhile and functional. In addition, if you can’t afford the budget required for those microbiology labs at a time, you can talk with some consultation to get a cost-efficient solution.