The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Reading Gram Stained Smears From Cultures. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

Learn more about Reading Gram Stained Smears From Cultures (online CE course) »
How to Subscribe
MLS & MLT Comprehensive CE Package
Includes 97 CE courses, most popular
$95 Add to cart
Pick Your Courses
Up to 8 CE hours
$50 Add to cart
Individual course$20 Add to cart

Culture, Isolation, and Identification of Microorganisms

The process involving the culture, isolation, and identification of microorganisms is basic to medical microbiology. When a culture shows signs of growth, the process of identification includes examining the following characteristics:

  • Appearance of the colonies in the culture medium
  • Staining reaction
  • Appearance of stained organisms, including the:
    • Size
    • Shape
    • Arrangement of bacterial cells
Based on the colony characteristics, the Gram stained smear can provide additional information to further confirm initial impressions and guide the microbiologist towards identification. This type of preliminary identification may help the physician to initiate the appropriate antibiotic treatment. As much preliminary information should be provided to the physician as possible.