Staining Techniques Because microbial cytoplasm is usually transparent, it is necessary to stain microorganisms before they can be viewed with the light microscope. In some cases, staining is unnecessary, for example when microorganisms are very large or when motility is to be studied, and a drop of the microorganisms can be placed directly on the slide and observed. A preparation such as this is called a wet mount. A wet mount can also be prepared by placing a drop of culture on a cover-slip (a glass cover for a slide) and then inverting it over a hollowed-out slide. This procedure is called the hanging drop. In preparation for staining, a small sample of microorganisms is placed on a slide and permitted to air dry. The smear is heat fixed by quickly passing it over a flame. Heat fixing kills the organisms, makes them adhere to the slide, and permits them to accept the stain.
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2011 for the course BIO 101 taught by Professor Pesthy during the Fall '07 term at Texas State.