Spores of fungus, Candida albicans

The long strands are the tubular filaments (hyphae) that have developed from the fungal spores. Yeast cells (rounded, yellow) are budding from the ends of the hyphae (red). Candida albicans causes the infection known as candidiasis which affects the moist mucous membranes of the body, such as skin folds, mouth, respiratory tract and vagina. Oral and vaginal conditions are known as thrush.

More about fungi

Practical advice

Microbiology is a popular option for practical work at both primary and secondary levels. It also offers scope for the quantitative project work which examining bodies now demand, including data logging.

Teachers can be put off using microbiological investigations because of worries about safety, but reassurance is available from Microbiology Society on all safety issues. Microbiology Society can also provide information on where to find resources, including cultures, and offer many suggestions for suitable and safe investigations. Enquiries from 16+ students carrying out microbiology projects are also welcome.

Micro-organisms possess many helpful features that make them ideal subjects for safe practical exercises in schools. Unlike many organisms, they do not necessarily have to be maintained over long periods and do not have to be fed and watered at weekends!

A selection of safe, educational microbiology practicals can be downloaded.

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