Isolation of Magnetotactic Bacteria and Development of a Comprehensive High School Educational Module

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The Ohio State University

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This thesis sought to isolate magnetotactic bacteria from Grandview Lake in Indiana using the capillary racetrack method. Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB), known for their unique magnetic properties, offer valuable insights into microbiology and hold potential applications in biotechnology and bioremediation. Isolation of MTB involved the collection of 15 samples from two sites at Grandview Lake, utilizing wide-mouth mason jars. Subsequent enrichment and isolation of MTB utilized bar magnets and the capillary racetrack method. However, MTB failed to be isolated from Grandview Lake. This could be attributed to several factors including the selection of the sampling site where MTB might not be present, transportation conditions during sample transit from the field site to the laboratory, inadequate collection of sediment-water interface in sample jars, fluctuations in laboratory temperature preceding isolation attempts, and variations in abiotic factors such as light, temperature, and nutrient availability. However, this setback did not deter the primary objective of this thesis, which is to promote microbiology education in high schools across the United States. Instead, the focus shifted towards leveraging existing knowledge and resources to develop an educational module centered around magnetotactic bacteria. This module aims to nurture curiosity and understanding of microbiology, thereby making the science more accessible and engaging. The implementation of the educational module in Mrs. Cathy Glick's Microbiology class demonstrated positive outcomes. Students acquired valuable laboratory, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills, developed an interest in microbiology and STEM-related fields, and gained insight into the ethical considerations and societal implications of scientific research, despite the absence of MTB detection in the samples. Furthermore, suggestions are made for improvements in safety protocols, sampling procedures, and group dynamics to optimize student learning outcomes. Additionally, the potential development of an interactive virtual simulation is suggested to provide a safe and cost-effective lab alternative for students to explore MTB. The ultimate goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists and innovators, thereby contributing to the advancement of scientific literacy and innovation in the United States. Through interactive activities and hands-on experiments, the educational module strives to inspire a new generation of scientists and innovators. By integrating microbiology into high school curricula, the aim is to foster a deeper appreciation for the microbial world and its profound impact on the environment and human health.



Magnetotactic bacteria, Isolation, Education, MTB