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Year 12 Biologists at the University of Hertfordshire

January 31, 2020

On Tuesday our Year 12 Biologists visited the microbiology laboratories at the University of Hertfordshire.  This was the culmination of their work on the Antibiotics Unearthed project, aiming to identify soil bacteria that are producing novel antibacterial agents.  The girls stained their isolated bacterial samples using the Gram Stain method, which helps to sub-divide the bacteria into two distinct groups.  They then had the chance to look at a relatively new technology for identifying bacteria called MALDI-TOF (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation – time of flight).  This is a type of mass spectrometry especially designed to identify large biomolecules by analysing the proteins.  Depending on the patterns produced by the mass spectrometer, the bacterial samples can be identified down to species level. Amongst others, we identified Pseudamonas fluorescens and Bacillus licheniformis from the soil samples that the girls had previously collected.

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