Course Title: Perform microbiological tests

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2016

Course Code: ONPS5660C

Course Title: Perform microbiological tests

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5283 - Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Pathology Testing)

Course Contact: Amberlee Mitton

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 9925 8053

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Joanne Bobbitt

Nominal Hours: 140

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

Perform biological procedures
Perform microscopic examination
Perform aseptic techniques

Course Description

This unit of competency covers the ability to contribute to the culture, isolation and identification of micro-organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoans, algae and parasites in order to investigate the physiology and pathology of plants and animals, monitor the natural environment, and to assist in the production of foods, pharmaceutical goods and other manufactured materials.

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

MSL975001A Perform microbiological tests


1. Receive samples and process associated request forms

Performance Criteria:

1.1. Check samples and request form details before they are accepted

1.2. Return samples and request forms that do not comply with requirements to source with reasons for non-acceptance

1.3. Log samples, recording details that allow accurate tracking and chain of custody

1.4. Distribute samples for local testing or dispatch samples to other testing facilities

1.5. Store samples appropriately where testing or transport is to be delayed


2. Prepare for safe microbiological work and aseptic applications

Performance Criteria:

2.1. Select work area and equipment required for the safe handling of materials that may contain micro-organisms of specified risk groups

2.2. Wear protective apparel, replacing it when contamination is suspected

2.3. Apply correct disinfection procedures to work areas before and after use

2.4. Locate relevant emergency equipment for timely response to microbiological accidents

2.5. Apply standard precautions when handling biological materials

2.6. Minimise the production and release of aerosols, using biological safety cabinets where necessary

2.7. Clean spills, and report all spills and suspected incidents to supervisor

2.8. Wash hands before and after laboratory work and when contamination is suspected

2.9. Ensure the safe disposal of biohazardous materials and other laboratory wastes in accordance with enterprise procedures


3. Process samples for direct examination

Performance Criteria:

3.1. Prepare thin smears of samples for subsequent staining to enable microscopic identification of cells

3.2. Prepare liquid films of specimens for direct observation for motility or cell structure

3.3. Prepare samples to concentrate material for subsequent staining or microscopy


4. Prepare pure cultures for microbiological work and aseptic

Performance Criteria:


4.1. Select culture media to maximise growth of micro-organisms and cells

4.2. Inoculate media aseptically, applying techniques suitable for purpose of culture

4.3. Incubate inoculated media in conditions to optimise growth of organisms and cells

4.4. Subculture on suitable media to optimise production of pure cultures



5. Perform procedures that can assist in the identification of micro-organisms

Performance Criteria:


5.1. Select staining techniques to demonstrate required cellular characteristics

5.2. Stain prepared films to demonstrate diagnostically useful characteristics

5.3. Inoculate and incubate media with pure cultures to assist in the biochemical and immunological identification of micro-organisms

5.4. Perform tests on pure cultures to assist in the biochemical and immunological identification of micro-organisms



6. Estimate the number and/or size of micro-organisms in samples

Performance Criteria:

6.1. Count cells in undiluted samples to indicate the dilution necessary to reliably count organisms in culture

6.2. Prepare serial dilutions of samples aseptically for culture and colony counting

6.3. Count colonies for calculating number of viable organisms per unit volume

6.4. Count micro-organisms in samples and cultures using spectrometric and electronic methodologies, where relevant

6.5. Estimate and document uncertainty of measurement in accordance with enterprise procedures, where relevant


7. Contribute to antibiotic sensitivity testing where required

Performance Criteria:


7.1. Prepare inoculum suitable for antibiotic sensitivity testing

7.2. Dispense or position antibiotic discs as indicated by enterprise protocol

7.3. Incubate inoculated media under conditions to maximise growth of cultured organism

7.4. Read and record sensitivity reactions, noting phenomena that can assist in the correct interpretation of results



8. Maintain records of laboratory work

Performance Criteria:


8.1. Make entries on report forms or into computer systems, accurately calculating, recording or transcribing data as required

8.2. Maintain instrument logs as required by accreditation checklists

8.3. Maintain security and confidentiality of all clinical information, laboratory data and records


Learning Outcomes

Details of Learning Activities

Practical laboratory exercises

Lectures on theoretical aspects of microbiology

Online research activities

Group discussion

You will be provided with revision questions for the material covered each week in class.

It is expected that for every hour of theory class, each student dedicates an hour of out-of-class study to the theoretical aspects of microbiology.

Teaching Schedule

WeekDate Topic
19/2 Introduction to Microbiology; Prac exercises 1 and 2
216/2 Microscopy: Smears & Staining; Prac exercise 3
323/2 Bacterial Metabolism and growth requirements; Prac exercise 4
41/3 Bacterial Growth & its measurement; Prac exercise 5
58/3 Controlling Microbial Growth; Prac exercise 6
615/3 Culture media; Prac exercise 7
722/3REVISION; Finalise practical results,
 29/3 Easter Break 24/3/16 - 30/3/16
912/4Microbial genetics; Prac exercise 8
1019/4Classification of organisms; Prac exercise 9
1126/4  Introduction to Identification; Prac exercise 10
123/5 More Identification Tests; Prac exercise 11
1310/5 Gram Positive Bacteria; Prac exercise 12
1417/5 Gram Negative Bacteria; Prac exercise 13
1524/5 REVISION & Practical Exam
18/7 Normal human flora
215/7 Immunology and epidemiology
322/7 Skin and wound infections
429/7 Urinogenital tract infections
55/8 Respiratory tract infections
612/8 Systemic and nervous system infections
 2/9Mid Semester Break
99/9 Virology
1016/9 Antimicrobials and antivirals
 1123/9Gastrointestinal infections
1230/9 Food microbiology
137/10 Biotechnology applications
1414/10 Environmental microbiology
1521/10 REVISION and Practical exam
177/11additional assessment

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts


Other Resources

On-line resources and other material will  be provided in class and will be available via the Learning Hub

Overview of Assessment

Assessments for this course typically consist of:
• Laboratory reports
• Practical Assessments
• Log book competency
• Exams


Assessment Tasks

Formative assessment:
• Online Quizzes
• Problem sheets/work sheets.
• Feedback and self-assessment in laboratory/workplace

Students must pass all of the following assessment tasks to pass this course
4 x Theory Tests (2 per semester) @ 15 % each 60%
4 x Formal Practical Reports (2 per semester) @ 10 % each 40%
1 x Practical observation (1st semester) COMPETENCY satisfactory/unsatisfactory 
1 x Practical examination (2nd semester) COMPETENCY satisfactory/unsatisfactory
Log Book (throughout the year) COMPETENCY satisfactory/unsatisfactory

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

Assessment information

  • To pass the course you need to pass, on average, each type of assessment (exam, prac reports, and assignments etc.). For example, if there are two tests you need to have an average of 50% to pass. But you also need to have passed the other assessments as well. You can’t make up marks from one type of assessment to another (e.g. pass the tests but fail the prac reports).
  • Extension of time for submission of assessable work- A student may apply for an extension of up to 7 days from the original due date. They must lodge the application form (available on the web ) at least the day before the due date. The application is lodged with the School Admin Office on Level 6, Bdg 51. Students requiring longer extensions must apply for Special Consideration (form available on the Web). For missed assessments such as exams- you (& your doctor if you are sick) must fill out a special consideration form. This form must be lodged at the HUB or online with supporting evidence (eg medical certificate), prior to, or within, 48 hours of the scheduled time of examination.
  • Late work that is submitted without an application for an extension will not be corrected
  • If you miss an assessment task due to unavoidable circumstances, you need to follow the procedure of special consideration and apply within the allowed time frame.
  • Students must attend at least 80% of practical classes. If you miss a prac class you should provide a copy of your medical certificate or other evidence (court appearance, funeral notice, statutory declaration) to the teacher.
  • Plagiarism- Plagiarism is the presentation of the work, idea or creation of another person as though it is your own. It is a form of cheating and is a very serious academic offence that may lead to expulsion from the University. Plagiarised material can be drawn from, and presented in, written, graphic and visual form, including electronic data and oral presentation. Plagiarism occurs when the origin of the material used is not appropriately cited.
    It also occurs through enabling plagiarism, which is the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work. Please make sure you consider this carefully in completing all your work and assessments in this course and if you are unsure about whether you might have plagiarised, seek help from your teacher.

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