Pipetts and Swabs

pipetteThese are the tools microbiologists use to transfer microbial cells from one place to another. Pipettes combine the workings of a straw and a syringe in one instrument. Scientists use them to draw up liquids from one vial,

flask, or other container and squirt them in measured amounts into another flask, test tube, or other vessel.

Microbiologists use inoculating loops or swabs principally to inoculate petri plates with microbial cells. Loops are thin pieces of metal shaped into a small loop at one end.

To inoculate a plate, a microbiologist would first sterilize the tip of the swab or loop. Then he would dip or rub the loop over a contaminated surface or in a prepared sample. He then brushes the tip of the swab or loop across the nutrient agar in a plate in a series of zig-zag patterns. The zig-zagging causes microbial cells to be laid down in smaller clusters, allowing distinct and separate colonies to grow.



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