Heat Fixed Microscope Slide of Bacteria

How to Prepare a Microscope Slide of Bacteria
Heat Fixing a Bacterial Smear for Staining
 
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First, use a wax pencil to draw a circle on the microscope slide to separate each type of bacteria that is going to be sampled. If a simple stain of only one type of bacteria, or single mixed sample of bacteria is being prepared, no separation is required.
Article Summary: In order to view individual bacteria through a light microscope, a bacterial smear must be attached to a slide and then stained. Here is the procedure.
How to Prepare & Heat Fix a Bacterial Smear for Staining
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Prokaryotic Cell, Mariana Ruiz
Heat Fixed and Gram Stained Slide of Bacteria
Bacterial smear that has been heat fixed and stained.
In order to heat fix a bacterial smear, it is necessary to first let the bacterial sample air dry. Then either place the slide in the slide holder of a microincinerator, or pass the dried slide through the flame of a Bunsen burner 3 or 4 times, smear side facing up. Once the slide is heat fixed, it can then be stained.


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How To Prepare a Bacterial Smears

Heat Fixing the Bacterial Sample
Before staining, the sample must be heat fixed. This process accomplishes three things. It functions to:
  • kill the bacteria
  • firmly affix the smear to the microscope slide
  • allow the sample to more readily take up the stain
Slides heat fixing on tray attached to microincinerator
Slides heat fixing on tray attached to microincinerator.
​Page last updated 5/2015


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How to Prepare a Bacterial Smear for Gram Staining
Preparing a Bacterial Smear
In order to be able to clearly see individual bacteria, a sample of a bacterial colony must be mixed into water or physiological saline. This helps to evenly spread out the bacterial sample.

Placing the Bacterial Sample on the Slide
  • Place a drop of water into the wax circle that has been created on the slide.
  • Using a sterilized and cooled inoculation loop, obtain a very small sample of a bacterial colony.
  • Gently mix the bacteria into the water drop.

Instructor's Corner
Continued...                                    Go to PAGE 2 >




Photographic guides to differential stains 
now available!

1. Gram
2. Acid-fast
3. Endopsore

How to Prepare a Bacterial Smear for Acid Fast Staining
How to Prepare a Bacterial Smear for Endospore Staining
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