Identification of the unknown microbe in your environment

How to write the final report (Identification of the unknown microbe in your environment)
The research report should be prepared with a standard format used in scientific publications, which is composed of the following sections,
1) Title, Name, Student ID number and Affiliation (Cover page with specific format will be provided)
2) Summary (less than 250 words)
3) Introduction
4) Materials & Methods
• Show all methods you used in the lab
5) Results
• Show all results you obtained in the lab
• This section must include at least one summary table)
6) Discussion & Conclusion
• The section must include the 4-page diagnostic key which supports your conclusion
7) References
General points
The final report in microbiology must be written in scientific format. Scientific writing is written differently from other types of writing. The results of the exercise or experiment are what are being showcased, not the writing. The purpose of scientific writing is not to entertain, but to inform. The writing should be simple and easy to understand. There is a specific style that must be followed when writing scientific reports.
Scientific writing is typically written in the passive voice. The pronouns “I”, “We” and “They” are not typically used. For example, instead of writing “I used a T-Soy agar plate to isolate my unknown bacteria,” it is customary to write, “A trypticase soy (T-Soy) agar plate was used to isolate the unknown bacteria.” It is also customary to write in the past tense for most of the report. This includes the introduction, the summary, the description of the materials and methods and the results. The present tense is reserved for the conclusions about the results. See the examples given below. Some other general rules that should be followed are: Microbial nomenclature: The name of the bacterium should written and spelled correctly. The name should be italicized or underlined. Italicized is preferred. For example, Staphylococcus aureus. The genus is capitalized but the species is not. After the full genus name is given in the paper, it can be written as S. aureus, but still italicized. This is as long as there in no other genera in the paper that starts with the same letter.
1) Give Title, Name, Student ID number and Affiliation.
Title should be centered and at the top or in the middle of the page
This information should be centered and at the bottom part of the title page:
2) Summary: Research purpose, approaches, results and conclusions should be summarized (less than 250 words). Your summary must have all the components described above.
3) Introduction: This section introduces the reader to the study and why the study was done. The introduction should explain your basic approach to solving the identification problem. It should contain background information on microbial isolation, and how isolation and identification benefit our lives.
Example: “There are many reasons for knowing the identity of microorganisms. The reasons range from the knowing the causative agent of a disease in a patient, so as to know how it can be treated, to knowing the correct microorganism to be used for making certain foods or antibiotics. This study was done by applying all of the methods that have been learned so far in the microbiology laboratory class for the identification of an unknown bacterium.”
4) Materials & Methods: Describe the materials and protocols you used in the experiments to identify microorganisms. (e.g. what tests were used and what materials were used in the tests? Do not include results in this section and Do not include methods you did not use in the classes – these two are major mistakes giving point deduction).
Example: An unknown bacteria were transferred from forehead of my lab partner X to T-soy plate with a sterile swab. The bacteria were incubated for 37 Co and structure of colony was determined by dissecting microscopy, then bacteria in a colony was transferred to a new T-soy plate for isolation. After the plates were incubated and bacteria were grown, the morphology, motility and enzymes in cells were characterized by types of staining, microscopy and biochemical tests. Many of these tests were performed by the methods listed in the lab manual by XXXX (1). Table 1 showed the name of the tests, purposes and reagents we used to identify our unknown bacteria.
e.g. Table 1 Summary of methods to characterize the bacteria isolated from forehead.
Test name
Gram stain
1. To determine shape of bacteria cells
2. To determine Gram reaction of bacteria
Cristal violet
After fixation of the samples smeared on the microslide, the bacteria were exposed to cristal violet, iodine, alcohol and safranin, sequentially. The bacteria on the slide were observed by compound microscope.
Colony shape
To characterize shape of bacterial colony
Dissecting microscope
Observe bacterial colony by microscope
5) Results: Describe the results you got in the experiments. Involvement of tables and/or figures could be effective to describe the results. You need insert the completed diagnostic key.
Example: Unknown G had the following morphology on a T-Soy agar plate: medium sized opaque cream colored colony. After determining that it was a Gram negative rod, an oxidase test was performed and it was inoculated into a BCP lactose tube and onto a T-Soy slant. Table 2 lists all of the tests, observation and interpretation.
e.g. Table 2. Summary of results with the bacteria isolated from forehead.
Test name
Gram stain
Spherical shape with dark purple
Gram positive cocci
Mannitol salt agar
Bacteria grew on the plate and made the media color yellow
Halophiles and fermentation of Mannitol
6) Discussion & Conclusion: State your conclusion (name of identified microbes) and give the reasons leading you to the conclusion with the 4-page diagnostic key. The reasons should include both positive and negative results,
Example: After several differential tests, it was concluded that the unknown environmental sample isolated from the intestine of Student A was Escherichia coli. After performing the Gram stain to determine that the unknown was a Gram negative rod, the organism was grown on a T-soy agar plate for use in inoculating the rest of the biochemical tests. All of the biochemical tests worked well except for the indole test. It gave a false negative result at first. This was determined since it was inconsistent with the rest of the result. The bacteria grew on mannitol salt agar, it was colorless on bile esculin, and it did not grow on MacConkey’s agar. According to the diagnostic key (Figure. 1), we concluded our results match with Escherichia coli. E. coli is in the Enterobacteriaceae family and is typically found in the human intestines, which also supports out conclusion.
7) References: List all references used in your study. Reference should include author names, editor names, dates, title, page numbers, year, journal or publishing company (for textbooks) name, detailed online sources. The references must be cited in the main text.
1. De Mers, Marlene. Fundamentals of Microbiology Laboratory Manual, 4 th edition. San Diego: Montezuma publishing, 2004.
2. Tortora, Funk, Case, etc……..
3. Leboffe, Michael, etc………
4. Nitta T, Kuznetsov Y, McPherson A, Fan H; Murine leukemia virus glycosylated Gag (gPr80gag) facilitates interferon-sensitive virus release through lipid rafts. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:1190–1195, 2010.
8) Some additional items
1. Give subheadings to each section.
2. Check incorporation of the completed diagnostic key.
3. Number the pages if possible.
4. Use a spell checker.
5. Use the comments from the instructor for the first report to write the revised report even better (optional).
Rubric for Final Lab Reports (major items in each section)
Diagnostic key
(Separated Due)
• Incomplete/Incorrect (-1, -2, -3 or -4), No key (-5)
• Sharing digital format of the key among groups (-5)
• All basic components (From Title to References) (-1 / section)
• No citation (references, tables, figures) in the main text (-1 each)
• Without the requested Lab Notes (-1/note)
• Use the own format for the cover page (-1)
• No conclusion (-1), No method (-1), No introduction (-1), No results (-1), No summary (-5)
• No reason/significance for identification (-1, -2, -3, -4)
• No introduction (-5)
• Experiments are missing (-1/experiment)
• No description regarding Isolation (-1)
• Materials & Methods that were not performed (-1)
• Sub-Heading & Explanation or Table (-1)
• Disorganized display (-1)
• No description/sentence in the section (only tables) (-2)
• Observations/results with wrong interpretation (-1/experiment)
• Experiments are missing (-1/experiment)
• No description/sentence in the section (only tables) (-2)
• No table is inserted.
Discussion & Identification
• Identification is only partially supported / some results have contradiction and no explanation was given. (-2, -4 -6, or -8)
• The diagnostic key was not shown / not discussed (-2)
• Rational for identification is not discussed (-10)
• Academic dishonesty: use of the same/similar sentences with other students (up to -45 points)
• Late submission (up to -50 points)
*Tables need sub-heading. Figures need titles and legends. The tables and figure without proper formats will lose points (-1/figure or table)
Quiz. Calculate and give the expected score of the lab report to the Lab note #1 when the lab note missed (1) diagnostic key, (2) description of microbial isolation, (3) two methods in section M&M, (4) two results in section Results and (5) citation of references in the main text.

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