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Discover Microbiology Day - 9 December 2010

We see a lot of adverts about good bacteria in foods but what about the bad bacteria in what we eat?

Microbiology examines pathogenic microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) and how they cause disease, become resistant to antibiotics or stimulate our immune system to fight off infection. Microbiologists also consider how microbes can potentially be beneficial to our health, be useful to us in food production and play a role in the carbon and nitrogen cycles on earth.

On the Discover Microbiology Day students found out more about the Microbiology course at Manchester, the types of career available to you as a Microbiology graduate and the cutting-edge research going on right now in our labs.

They got the chance to do some hands-on microbiology, which included:

  • Detecting microbial spoilage of milk.  Does pasteurised milk last longer than UHT milk before going sour? You will use a redox indicator to detect microbial growth in pasteurised and UHT milk.
  • How do we identify and visualise bacteria? You will have the opportunity to Gram stain bacterial cells, visualise them under the microscope and explore the use of selective media to identify bacterial pathogens. You will use modern microbiological techniques to identify contaminated food - which sandwich is fit to eat?


9am-9.30am Arrival and registration
9.30am-10am Introduction to the Microbiology course and microbiology careers (Dr Nicky High)
10am-12pm Bacterial food spoilage. Which is better: pasteurised or UHT milk?
12pm-1.30pm Lunch and campus tour with current students
1.30pm-2.45pm Identifying and visualising bacteria: the Gram stain; selective media; bacteria that glow in the dark.
2.45pm-3pm Break
3pm-3.30pm Frontiers of Science - Research lecture: The Gut Microbiome (Professor Ian Roberts)

Useful links

  • Microbiology BSc