21 Microbiology Equipment and their Uses fully Discussed

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Microbiology is the study of small organisms (microorganisms) which cannot be seen with the human eye except through the use of microscopes.

Microbiology equipment are the equipment used in the microbiology laboratory to investigate and study microorganisms.
There are many laboratory equipment, some of which are:



laboratory oven

microbiology apparatus

haematocrit centrifuge

NOTE: Microbiology equipment is different from materials.

  1. Microscope
  2.  Thermal cycler
  3.  Tuberculin Syringe
  4. Autoclave
  5. Colorimeter
  6. PH Meter
  7. Turbidity Meter
  8. Incubator
  9. Hot air oven
  10. Distillation apparatus
  11. Cork borer
  12. Haematocrit Centrifuge
  13. Forceps
  14. Weighing balance
  15. Colony counter
  16. Bunsen burner
  17. Desiccator
  18. Inoculation loop
  19. Hot Plate with Magnetic Stirrer
  20.  Water bath        
  21. Vaccine bath
  22.  Sterile Loop

So, now let's discuss the uses of these equipment in detail.


This equipment is designed to view small microorganisms that cannot be seen with the human eye. The Microscope consists of objective lens, eye piece, condenser, light source, which all work hand in hand to carry out this operation. There are various sizes of microscopes which have been designed.


This is used to sterilize solids, liquids, hollows and instruments of various shapes and sizes used in the microbiology laboratory. It is used for the sterilization of glass ware and media. This works under a basic principle that when the pressure of a gas increases, the temperature increases.
When a steam is placed under a pressure of 1atmosphere above the sea level, the temperature rises to 121C. At 121C, all instrument are sterilized as no microorganism can survive at such temperature.

Inoculation loop and Inoculation needle
Inoculation loop is a laboratory equipment used to retrieve an inoculum from a culture of microorganisms.
Inoculation needle is an instrument used to transfer and inoculate living microorganisms.

Ph Meter

This is a device used to measure the degree of acidity and alkalinity of a solution. The PH meter has a value which runs from 0-14. Solutions with PH value of '7' are neutral. Solutions with P value less than 7 are acidic while those with PH value more than 7 are alkaline.

According to the definition,
'PH meters measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution'
A solution containing more H+ ion is acidic while solution containing OH-  is alkaline.
NOTE: Acidity increases from 7 to 1 while Alkalinity increases from 7 to 14.

Colony Counter

This is used to estimate a liquid culture's density of microorganisms by counting individual colonies on an agar plate, slide, mini gel or petri-dish.

A device used for counting colonies of bacteria growing in a culture.

Due to the fact that human error increases the inaccuracy of the result obtained, there is need for an electronic device which could fill the space of human in counting of colonies. In order to obtain a reliable and accurate result, colony counter is used.

   The petri-dish is put into a colony counter which by certain algorithm separates the colonies form background of the culture and then counts the colonies. The present day colony counter are not artificially intelligent and so have some limitations.
Yes! I said they have some limitations. Colony counter might find it difficult to distinguish or separate two colonies touching each other.
This is the major limitation of the device.

Water Bath

This is one of the heating devices used in the microbiology laboratory for special purpose heating.
It is used for mild and controlled heating.
Some applications include maintaining cell lines or heating flammable chemicals that might combust if exposed to open/direct flame.

It is just an advancement of a container filled with heated water which is used to heat other samples in hot/heated water at a constant temperature over a long period of time.
Advantage: It reduces risk of explosion and combustion so allows chemical reactions to take part at higher temperature because the chemicals are not heated directly.

A simple illustration is putting a cup of cold tea inside a hot water to warm up the tea.

Weighing Balance

This is used to measure the mass of substances used in the laboratory. There are various types of weighing balance used in the microbiology laboratory ranging from Analytical balance, Top Loading balance, Spring balance, Triple beam balance e.t.c Among all types of weighing balance, the major ones used in the microbiology laboratory are: Analytical balance and Top Loading balance.

Before any of these balances are used, they mst be calibrated that is they must be set to zero (0). This helps to avoid error (zero error and other types of error). I t helps to obtain a reliable result. After calibration, the specimen can be measured. Each balance has its own instruction to follow.


This is a device used in the study of colorimetry. This measures the absorbance of particular wavelength of filter by a specific solution.

   Colorimetry as it name implies is used for only coloured copounds. Non coloured compounds are not qualified.
In order to use this equipment, the colorimeter must be put on for about 15 minutes. The colorimeter must be calibrated (set to zero) before being used to measure absorbance of solution at a specific wavelength.
Note: The colorimeter is calibrated with water.
Parts of the Colorimeter are: Filter, Cuvette, Coarse and Film knob. The cuvette contains solution to be worked on. It is test-tube like. The filter is the wavelength. The coarse and Fine adjustment knob is used alongside with water to calibrate the colorimeter.

Hot Air Oven

These are also sterilizers, they make use of dry air to sterilize instrument, substance, materials used in the laboratory.
They were first developed by Louis Pasteur, one of the founding fathers of Microbiology and founder of Pasteurization technique.

Hot Air Oven makes use of thermostat to control temperature.

So, what does that imply?
Yes! You might be wondering what was by the sentence above

'make use of thermostat to control temperature'
A thermostat is found in electrical appliance such as Electric Iron.

So, how does it operate?
When the temperature is high, the thermostat lowers it to the minimum and the cycle starts again. Let's put it this way,

Once the temperature is high, the system switches off, until the temperature cools before heating continues.

Inoculating Loop and Needle

Inoculating loop is used to retrieve an inoculum from a culture of microorganisms. While an inoculation needle is used to transfer and inoculate living microorganisms.

Wire Baskets for Culture Bottle

This is used for storing, cleaning and sterilizing laboratory needle.

Test tubes in a Test tube rack

They are used to hold small sample quantity of specimen solution. The Test tube rack houses the test tubes.

Cork borer

This is a metal tool for cutting a hole in a cork or rubber stopper to insert glass tubing.


Magentic stirrers , as the name implies, help with stirring. Ingredients for media can be added to a flask or beaker, and a small magnetic bar is put in the bottom.
This is majorly used in the preparation is liquid medium.
It distributes the temperature evenly.

Petri dish / agar plate

to act as a supporting container to hold the culture medium

Thermal cycler

used to amplify segments of DNA via the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) process.

Tissue culture bottles

to grow or keep alive cells or tissue from a living organism, e.g. stem cells

Tuberculin syringe

as a normal syringe or to perform Mantoux test

Universal container

a cylindrical small glass bottle with a screw cap used as a culture medium holder

Vaccine bath

used to heat vaccine containing medium gently to around 45-55 degrees Celsius during vaccine production

Source: wikipedia