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Biology/Bioassay/Biomonitoring Help

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Question
Hello! I am currently working on a science project but have seem to hit a bit of a roadblock in creating the experiment. I am trying to biomonitor/bioassay local water systems. I will run tests throughout different sites and compare the microbiological biodiversity to see and compare the health of each system. The problem is, I do not know what equipment exactly I would need. My teacher is not an expert in microbiology and can not offer any help. Do you by any chance know what technology/tools/equipment I need to be able to identify the different forms of microbiological life? And how exactly I would get the data? Thank you in advance!

Answer
There are many products and systems that can, with varying degrees of accuracy, identify microbial organisms.  Unfortunately, most of these products (as well as all the big systems that identify genetically or metabolically) are very expensive.  Perhaps you could look into sending out your samples to be identified at a testing lab, though that might be expensive too.  Here is a slideshow detailing the different ways to classify/identify bacteria:  http://www.slideshare.net/MMASSY/sero-and-phage-typing-bls-209

Identifying mold can be done microscopically to a certain extent with a trained eye.  You would need to refer to good reference materials that show pictures of a wide variety of fungi.

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Chris Bemis

Expertise

I will answer questions relating to the identification of bacterial and fungal isolates using phenotypic (macroscopic/microscopic appearance, biochemical bench tests, fatty-acid analysis) as well as genotypic (RiboPrinting) methods. I can also answer questions relating to environmental microbiology, especially those specifically relating to the pharmaceutical industry. I am less familiar with clinical microbiology.

Experience

I have worked within the biotech industry for 9 years, most of that time spent in a Quality Control Microbiology laboratory setting. Within the laboratory, I routinely performed bioburden testing; sterility testing; gel-clot and kinetic LAL testing; biological indicator testing; stability testing; microbial limits testing; media performance/growth promotion testing; microbial identifications testing using API, Vitek, MIDI (GC-MIS) and RiboPrinter identifications systems; total/fecal coliform testing; environmental monitoring; media preparation; stock culture maintenance; qualification of identification test kits and QuantiCult Plus organisms. I executed the QC validation of the DuPont Qualicon RiboPrinter Microbial Characterization System. I also supported sites internationally with the fungal/microbial identification process, the RiboPrinter assay, stock culture maintenance and the microbial identification process flow.

Organizations
Nationally Registered Microbiologist, American Society of Microbiology (2005)

Publications
Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Education/Credentials
B.S. in Microbiology (2000)

Awards and Honors
Received my company's 'Best Practice Award' for the Validation of the RiboPrinter Microbial Characterization System, 2004

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