Enterotube II

Sat Mar 25 15:52:10 EST 1995

"Sighing Student TM" (a.k.a. truemonk at csulb.edu) asks an excellent pedagogical 
question in his/her message "Entertotube II" 
(message ID <Pine.NXT.3.91.950325053529.18093E-100000 at tern.csulb.edu>)

Namely, in his or her undergraduate microbiology lab, "why must we do all those 
silly plates and tubes when we could use a single Enterotube II instead?"

As a professor who uses *both* individual plates/tubes *and* Enterotubes in a 
general introductory (not mainly medical) microbiology lab, my answer would be 
that oftentimes the old format works better.  For instance, not all tests have 
the same optimum temperatures and times of incubation -- having separate 
cultures lets you treat them individually.  Also, when the purpose is to detect 
weak reactions or to let a novice (student) see *clearly* a result, the tubes 
provide a much larger and more sensitive format for that.  Finally, those tests 
like V.P. and Indole which require the addition of a reagent to the medium can 
be pretty messy in an Enterotube -- MUCH easier in a broth.

Enterotubes are wonderful -- as I said, I use them -- both because they expand 
the range of tests we can do, and in order to show students how it's done "in 
the real world".  But there's also value in the silly tubes and plates.

Terry Hill
Rhodes College
Memphis Tennessee

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