Microbiology lab equipment provides scientists with the capability of studying microscopic organisms by increasing their apparent size, allowing them to investigate their growth patterns. Examples of microbiology lab equipment include microscopes, petri dishes and bacterial counters. Microscopes allow scientists to see the organisms they study, while petri dishes allow bacteria to grow, and counters allow scientists to count the number of cells present in a sample.
Usually, microbiologists begin investigating bacteria by taking a culture. Typically, swabs are used to collect the sample and transfer it to a petri dish. Petri dishes are small glass or plastic containers, designed to contain bacteria. In the base of a petri dish scientists place a food source, such as a simple sugar. Sometimes, scientists test the response of different bacteria to different food sources that are placed in the petri dish. Once the sample has been placed in the petri dish, it is then allowed to incubate for a predetermined length of time. During this time, the bacteria feed and multiply. Scientists can then count the number of bacteria present by using a bacterial counter. After the scientists have counted the number of bacteria, they can investigate it with a microscope to determine growth patterns.