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Explanations for Three Questions Related to Microbiology

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1. What is the purpose of flaming the loop prior to transferring an organism from a test tube to a petri plate? What type of heat is flaming? Why can't the loop be put on the bench top after using it?

2. Why are antibacterials not used to destroy viruses? What is the difference between bacteria and viruses that cause this to happen?

3. How does an organism with a capsule such as K. pneumoniae, provide the organism with pathogenic abilities to avoid destruction by the host cell?

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Solution Summary

This solution, which includes 400 words, aims to answer three questions specific to microbiology. Laboratory methods (aseptic technique or loop flaming), differences between bacteria and viruses and the importance of capsules with respect to pathogenic ability are all discussed.

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1. The purpose of heating your loop is to sterilize the loop and to avoid contamination of your plate with other types
of organisms. Heating at high temperatures will 'sterilize' the loop (kill off the other microbial forms). You should
not put the loop back on the bench after using it on the petri plate because the loop will contain residual
organisms that can be transferred to your bench top (which could potentially be a bad thing!).
Flaming is one type of heat sterilization; note that there are other types of heat sterilization (incineration, dry heat
and boiling).

2. In order to understand why viruses are not able to be destroyed by ...

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