Identification of unknown bacterial isolates is an important part of clinical diagnostics, research, quality control, etc. The bacterial “fingerprint” spectra can be compared with large databases of bacteria and identification of bacteria can be done in minutes.
However, most clinical labs utilize a combination of high-tech methods and traditional cultural methods to identify bacteria. These low-tech methods are important in situations where high-tech equipment (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars) is not available or when an isolate doesn’t match anything in the database, or exhibits unexpected growth patterns or test results.
During the next few labs you will perform the appropriate tests on an unknown isolate in order to identify it.