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Biology Practical: Bacteria in yoghurt

Submitted by sat on 05 April 2019

When conducting a microbiology activity, it is important to consider what microorganism is being used and how it is being used.

The type of bacteria used in the production of yoghurt are suitable for human consumption. They are not  human pathogens, so are suitable for use in schools.

When considering a certain microbiology activity it is important to evaluate:

Science ASSIST has produced “GUIDELINES for best practice for microbiology in Australian schools” see https://assist.asta.edu.au/resource/4196/guidelines-best-practice-microbiology-australian-schools.  We recommend that your school is familiar with the content of this guide before contemplating the delivery of practical activities in microbiology. In particular, see chapter 3 and 4 regarding risk assessment; school work levels; staff training and microbiology rules. From page 13:

“Before schools embark on working with microorganisms they should ask the following questions and perform a site-specific biological risk assessment.

The Bio-Rad kit activity that you mentioned2, involves advanced work in subculturing and manipulations of bacteria. This would be considered a Science ASSIST level 4 activity with medium to high risk and therefore staff should be highly trained in microbiology and the manipulations required.

There are a number of procedures used in this kit which are not recommended for schools

It is important to be aware of the safety issues and risks regarding the microbiological aspects of this and other microbiology kits and to confirm if the required techniques and procedures are allowed in your school jurisdiction. You could also consult with a Workplace Health and Safety Advisor in your jurisdiction for further advice.

We recommend that you consider an alternate activity. We have a range of activities which are suitable for use in schools in our GUIDELINES for best practice for microbiology in Australian schools

We have previously answered the following related questions, which can be viewed on our website:

Genetic modification of bacteria

Using E. coli bacteria in schools

Gene induction experiment?

Transformation of E.coli with pFluoroGreen

References and further reading

1 Science ASSIST. 2017. GUIDELINES for best practice for microbiology in Australian schools, Science ASSIST website, https://assist.asta.edu.au/resource/4196/guidelines-best-practice-microbiology-australian-schools

2 Bio-Rad Explorer. Nd. Microbes and Health Kit: "What Causes Yogurtness?”, Bio-Rad website, http://www.bio-rad.com/webroot/web/pdf/lse/literature/1665031A.pdf (Accessed March 2019)

 

‘Yogurt Production’, Milk Facts website, http://www.milkfacts.info/Milk%20Processing/Yogurt%20Production.htm (Accessed March 2019)

‘Yoghurt’, Dairy Food Safety website, http://www.dairysafe.vic.gov.au/consumers/dairy-foods/yoghurt (Accessed March 2019)