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Beginning interest in Microbiology


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#1    Orcseeker

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 02:43 PM

So I've just gained a strong interest in microbiology. I've looked at a couple documentaries and introductory videos. I'm going to invest in a 1000x microscope as well too see some small organisms.

Any microbiologists here with any information on what direction I should best take as a beginner?


#2    Insanity

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 03:09 PM

Are you seeking this for academics or for personal interest?

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#3    toast

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 04:26 PM

View PostOrcseeker, on 09 April 2014 - 02:43 PM, said:

So I've just gained a strong interest in microbiology. I've looked at a couple documentaries and introductory videos. I'm going to invest in
a 1000x microscope as well too see some small organisms. Any microbiologists here with any information on what direction I should best
take as a beginner?

I`m not a microbiologists but I own an OPTIKA B353PL microscope. Important for me was that the m. is a
trinocular one (stereo view and the option to mount a cam on separate).

“For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.”  - Hunter S. Thompson -
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#4    Orcseeker

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:00 PM

View PostInsanity, on 09 April 2014 - 03:09 PM, said:

Are you seeking this for academics or for personal interest?

Personal interest for now. Possibly academics in the future. I'm currently pursuing a graduate career in IT after completing my course in computer science.


#5    Orcseeker

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:03 PM

View Posttoast, on 09 April 2014 - 04:26 PM, said:



I`m not a microbiologists but I own an OPTIKA B353PL microscope. Important for me was that the m. is a
trinocular one (stereo view and the option to mount a cam on separate).

Just had a look at it. Looks very nice! A bit too expensive for me though. Do you have a camera attached to it? You been looking at some microorganisms? I'm aiming to get a decent microscope to see and view bacteria, algae, etc.


#6    Insanity

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 02:43 PM

View PostOrcseeker, on 10 April 2014 - 01:00 PM, said:

Personal interest for now. Possibly academics in the future. I'm currently pursuing a graduate career in IT after completing my course in computer science.
You'll want a compound microscope that has several objective lenses, typically ranging from ~4x to 100x. The achieved magnification is the product of the objective lens and the eyepiece lens.  If your eyepiece is 10x and you are using the 100x objective lens, then it is 1,000x.I'd suggest learning about oil immersion, which increases resolution at the higher magnification, and staining techniques, particularly Gram staining.I am sure the max magnification for an optical microscope is about 1,500x.

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#7    Insanity

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 02:45 PM

View PostOrcseeker, on 10 April 2014 - 01:00 PM, said:

Personal interest for now. Possibly academics in the future. I'm currently pursuing a graduate career in IT after completing my course in computer science.
You'll want a compound microscope that has several objective lenses, typically ranging from ~4x to 100x. The achieved magnification is the product of the objective lens and the eyepiece lens.  If your eyepiece is 10x and you are using the 100x objective lens, then it is 1,000x.I'd suggest learning about oil immersion, which increases resolution at the higher magnification, and staining techniques, particularly Gram staining.I am sure the max magnification for an optical microscope is about 1,500x.

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#8    Orcseeker

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 02:58 AM

View PostInsanity, on 10 April 2014 - 02:45 PM, said:


You'll want a compound microscope that has several objective lenses, typically ranging from ~4x to 100x. The achieved magnification is the product of the objective lens and the eyepiece lens.  If your eyepiece is 10x and you are using the 100x objective lens, then it is 1,000x.I'd suggest learning about oil immersion, which increases resolution at the higher magnification, and staining techniques, particularly Gram staining.I am sure the max magnification for an optical microscope is about 1,500x.

I have heard of the oil immersion but was unsure on the process. That explanation on magnification has definitely cleared any things I wasnt sure about up for me though, thanks. Are you a microbiologist or is this a hobby of yours?


#9    Insanity

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 12:43 AM

View PostOrcseeker, on 13 April 2014 - 02:58 AM, said:

I have heard of the oil immersion but was unsure on the process. That explanation on magnification has definitely cleared any things I wasnt sure about up for me though, thanks. Are you a microbiologist or is this a hobby of yours?

I have a Biology science degree and have had a few years of microbial experience as well as some post-grad studies.
Oil immersion is not difficult, just need the correct lens, often it is an 100x or perhaps 40x lens and immersion oil.  You just place a drop or two of immersion oil onto the coverslip between the lens.  The oil has a higher index of refraction and less light is scattered between the specimen and the lens, increasing the resolution.

Using staining methods and various biochemical tests, you can determine the species of an unknown microbe.  Part of the final, or at least ours, was to identify two unknowns provided by the professor.  We had to first get a pure culture, and then go through the gambit of tests and state what we thought it was.

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#10    Orcseeker

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:33 PM

View PostInsanity, on 14 April 2014 - 12:43 AM, said:

I have a Biology science degree and have had a few years of microbial experience as well as some post-grad studies.
Oil immersion is not difficult, just need the correct lens, often it is an 100x or perhaps 40x lens and immersion oil.  You just place a drop or two of immersion oil onto the coverslip between the lens.  The oil has a higher index of refraction and less light is scattered between the specimen and the lens, increasing the resolution.

Using staining methods and various biochemical tests, you can determine the species of an unknown microbe.  Part of the final, or at least ours, was to identify two unknowns provided by the professor.  We had to first get a pure culture, and then go through the gambit of tests and state what we thought it was.

That sounds interesting. Sometimes I think I should have taken such a direction myself.

I was looking into getting this one: http://www.ebay.com....984.m1423.l2649 Do you think that satisfies everything?

Hmm I will look into the process of such tests. I will also get my hands on some immersion oil.


#11    toast

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:09 PM

View PostOrcseeker, on 10 April 2014 - 01:03 PM, said:

Just had a look at it. Looks very nice! A bit too expensive for me though. Do you have a camera attached to it? You been looking at some microorganisms? I'm aiming to get a decent microscope to see and view bacteria, algae, etc.
Not yet, I`m just waiting for the adapter for my cam.
The first stuff I watched was: home dust. Very interesting!

Edited by toast, 16 April 2014 - 01:11 PM.

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#12    Insanity

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Posted 16 April 2014 - 10:24 PM

View PostOrcseeker, on 16 April 2014 - 12:33 PM, said:

That sounds interesting. Sometimes I think I should have taken such a direction myself.

I was looking into getting this one: http://www.ebay.com....984.m1423.l2649 Do you think that satisfies everything?

Hmm I will look into the process of such tests. I will also get my hands on some immersion oil.

This particular model does not state that it has an immersion lens.  Often it is the highest objective lens, but it is not specified that it has one, which would lead me to think it does not.  You would probably want to get confirmation from the seller or check the manufacturer's site for that.

Two other features that may be nice to have, but certainly are not a requirement, are a moveable stage, whereas the stage can be moved via two knobs, so you do not need to move the slide by hand each time you want to look at a different area.  The other is having a condenser, which can increase resolution at the higher magnification.  It produces similar results to oil immersion, but I believe using immersion oil still produces better results.  Using a condenser is less mess though.

Edited by Insanity, 16 April 2014 - 10:24 PM.

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#13    Orcseeker

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 09:03 AM

View PostInsanity, on 16 April 2014 - 10:24 PM, said:



This particular model does not state that it has an immersion lens.  Often it is the highest objective lens, but it is not specified that it has one, which would lead me to think it does not.  You would probably want to get confirmation from the seller or check the manufacturer's site for that.

Two other features that may be nice to have, but certainly are not a requirement, are a moveable stage, whereas the stage can be moved via two knobs, so you do not need to move the slide by hand each time you want to look at a different area.  The other is having a condenser, which can increase resolution at the higher magnification.  It produces similar results to oil immersion, but I believe using immersion oil still produces better results.  Using a condenser is less mess though.

I contacted the seller and it does not. Although I like the idea of taking photos of what I'm seeing under the microscope. It is possible to use oil immersion and a camera in one?

Thank you for the invaluable information thus far. You also wouldn't happen to know the average price I'd be looking at for a model you've specified?


#14    Insanity

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:51 AM

View PostOrcseeker, on 30 April 2014 - 09:03 AM, said:



I contacted the seller and it does not. Although I like the idea of taking photos of what I'm seeing under the microscope. It is possible to use oil immersion and a camera in one?

Thank you for the invaluable information thus far. You also wouldn't happen to know the average price I'd be looking at for a model you've specified?

I'd imagine it is possible, the oil immersion lens is in the objective piece, and the camera would be placed in the same place as the eye lens, or possibly with it.  They're at two different locations.  I am afraid that other than looking at prices myself, I wouldn't know the current average cost, I haven't had to purchase one in many years.

"We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have." - H.P. Lovecraft, "From Beyond" Published 1934

#15    Orcseeker

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 02:15 PM

View PostInsanity, on 30 April 2014 - 10:51 AM, said:

I'd imagine it is possible, the oil immersion lens is in the objective piece, and the camera would be placed in the same place as the eye lens, or possibly with it.  They're at two different locations.  I am afraid that other than looking at prices myself, I wouldn't know the current average cost, I haven't had to purchase one in many years.

I have decided to go with this one after contacting the seller with the specifications you listed: http://www.ebay.com....=item20e4a85b12

Fingers crossed, seems like a good price.





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