Resources
For teachers

Eau That Smell

Compare two competing designs to optimize system performance

With this lab, your students can learn to grow microbial cells, measure their growth, analyze their genes on a molecular level, and become familiar with basic synthetic biology concepts related to system design and logic gates. Analysis of the lab’s data will provide a chance for students to carry out meaningful error analysis and to examine the difference between quantitative results and qualitative results. Finally, this lab offers two protocols based on the time the teacher wishes to allow. Each of these protocols covers the same concepts but allows for different emphases.

SAMPLE UNIT PLANS

Some helpful background content and skills

Content

  • DNA Basics: what it is and how it works
  • Gene Expression: Transcription, Translation, Operons
  • Recombinant DNA: Restriction enzymes, cloning, selection with antibiotic resistance

Skills

  • Pipetting
  • Measuring cell density with a spectrophotometer
  • Basic microbiology skills: Culturing bacteria, Aseptic technique, Antibiotic resistance, Population dynamics
SOME LAB MATERIALS TO HAVE ON HAND
  • HARDWARE: Some basic biology laboratory equipment such as glassware, pipets, a water bath or heat block to heat samples, an icebucket or styrofoam cup to cool samples, 4C fridge and ice-cold freezer (ideally to -20C) to store samples, a stir plate to mix samples, and an incubator to grow samples (though room temperature can work too). Some additional experiments might need a chemical hood, electrophoresis chambers, spectrophotometer, or a PCR machine.
  • CONSUMABLES: Some basic consumable laboratory equipment such as pipet tips, plastic tubes, growth media, petri dishes, toothpicks, spreaders, sterile loops, bleach or the like for decontamination and disposal of bioreagents. Some additional experiments might need additional consumables such as gel running buffers, loading buffers, stains to visualize DNA or proteins, cuvettes, PCR master mix, or an autoclave for sterilizing reagents.

RESOURCES AND DOWNLOADS

Specific materials for teaching this lab

CLASSROOM RESOURCES

PPTS

VIDEOS

LAB RESOURCES

VIDEOS

PPTs

OTHER RESOURCES

ANALYSIS & FEEBACK

Students can compare their results to others using an alternative lysis protocol

Lab Follow-ups

Can fruitflies be used to measure intensity of banana smell?

What is effect on smells if growing the cells at different temperatures?

If you are using the McFarland standard, would more precise or subtle standards be useful?

Rather than telling the students which strain is which, can they identify the strains based on their smell patterns?

Assessment rubrics

Download sample rubrics to modify and use:

Lab Report Score Sheet for Eau That Smell

Lab Report Rubric for Eau That Smell