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How to quantify microbes in a sample

Microbiologists often need to calculate how many microbes are in a sample in order to perform a quantitative analysis of the results. In this article, we will learn how to …

Prevention is better than cure

Earlier this week, you learnt about how antibiotics work, how pathogens gain antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and how they spread resistance genes via horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We urgently need new …

Where should we invest?

Now you’ve explored some of the applications of microbiology research, we would like you to reflect on what you’ve learned and share your ideas! In 2018, the UK Government committed …

How do antibiotics work?

In the previous Steps you’ve learned how pathogens are transmitted, the symptoms they cause and how to diagnose an infectious disease. Having identified the culprit of an infection, the next …

Meet Dr Simon Clarke

In Step 2.10, Professor Glenn Gibson explained how microbes can impact the human microbiome. In this ‘Meet the expert’ video, I meet with Dr Simon Clarke who researches the mechanisms …

Beneficial uses of microbes

  Research and biotechnology Microbes play an incredibly important role in research. Many of the breakthroughs in molecular biology, such as understanding how the genetic code works and how genes …

Meet Alice Collins – a microbiology graduate

In this video you’ll meet Alice Collins, a Microbiology graduate from the University of Reading. In this video, Alice describes the opportunity she had to study at a research centre …

How microbes affect global processes

In Week 1, you learnt about the many different types of nutrients microbes need to grow and reproduce, and how nutrient availability and environmental conditions affect where microbes live. In …

Meet Dr Renee Lee

In this video, I join environmental microbiologist Dr Renee Lee in our teaching lab. Renee discusses the relationship between microbes in our oceans and the global climate, both past and …

Meet Dr Gemma Walton

In this video, I return to the Food Sciences lab to ask Dr Gemma Walton to explain how our gut microbiota impacts our health – both positively and negatively – …

Home practical: making yoghurt

In the third and final home practical experiment, you’ll turn milk into yoghurt using everyday items you can buy in a supermarket. This practical is optional, you can just read …

How to avoid food poisoning

You may have heard important food related rules such as ‘store food at the appropriate temperature’ or ‘keep raw produce away from cooked and ready-to-eat food’ but do you know …

Meet Dr Sheila MacIntrye

In this video, I meet with Dr Sheila MacIntrye to discuss her research on the bacterium Yersinia pestis, that you learnt in the previous Step has caused several plague pandemics …

How to identify the culprit of an infection

When someone has a serious infection, it is often necessary to work out exactly which microbe is responsible for causing the disease. The process starts in the doctor’s surgery or …

Home practical: yeast fermentation

In this Step, you’re going to try to blow up a balloon by harnessing the power of yeast, using everyday items you can buy in a supermarket. This home practical …