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Microbiological Media – A Basic Overview

By: Daniel Prince

Millions of medical tests take place every day across the globe. Many tests require a sample of blood, urine or other bodily fluid or even tissue. This is required to grow the bacteria that a doctor is looking for within a patient’s body. Interestingly, growing bacteria is not the same as growing, for example, a plant. However, there is one important similarity. This similarity is known as food, or microbiological media.

What is Microbiological Media?

Microbiological media, or bacterial culture media, is a growth medium used to grow bacteria. In other words, it contains everything bacteria need to grow outside the body and under laboratory conditions. Bacterial culture media is used when a specific bacterium must be grown in order to confirm the presence of an infection or study a specific bacterium further. There are thousands of different media used today.

Microbiological media can be classified under two primary categories; chemical or organic. A purely chemical media uses chemical medium to provide the needed nutrients to an organism. An organic media contains organic material that a certain bacterium may need to grow.

Furthermore, bacterial culture media can be used to grow a general variety of bacteria. On the other hand, selective media is used when only a certain type of bacteria is to be grown.


How does Microbiological Media work?

To rule out that a finished product such as a drug, medical device, tissue or implant is contaminated with microorganisms bacterial culture media is used. The media enables the microbiologist to identify and quantify any organism so that patient safety is assured.

Why is such Media Important?

It is through the use of a bacterial culture media that the presence of a bacterial infection is either confirmed or not. Although there are other ways of doing so, growing microbes is the most accurate method. In simple words, unless microbiological media existed, accurately confirming a disease would be incredibly difficult.

Whether it is the identification of bacteria for commercial use or for identifying and confirming infections, knowing basic information about microbial media is crucial to understanding it.