The HaloEd Project
A web site dedicated to microbiology education
As educators at the high school, we found that there was little emphasis placed on microbiology and biotechnology education while the world at large was moving rapidly into a technology-driven micro-world, one filled with new innovations and ideas coming from research on bacteria and Archaea. Our research on Halobacterium species, made us realize that these microbes were a fine example of organisms that could be used for teaching. In addition to this, Halobacteria make a natural bridge for co-teaching.
We have listed some of the main ideas why Halobacteria are so ideal. And we hope that this website will provide a useful resource for those wanting to use this fabulous system for teaching.
In order to solve the main obstacles to teaching microbiology and biotechnology, such as:
-difficulty scheduling labs
We decided that we would use Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 because:
-They are beautiful!
-will only grow in media specific for them: avoiding potential growth of contaminants; the salinity levels would be too high for non-halophilic organisms to survive in
-do not need special growth-chambers: they can be cultured at room temperature
-do not require extremely sterile techniques for streaking plates (no worry about Bunsen burners or contamination)
-can be stored easily, for long periods of time
-do not require extremely toxic chemicals for basic techniques: they require mainly inexpensive and easily obtained materials to culture and manipulate
-are easily lysed by water
-are easily manipulated
-are good for scheduling weekly labs (have 3-7day culturing period)
-are well characterized: the whole genome has been sequenced, physiology and biochemistry studied
-are readily available (inexpensive) commercially
-are very relevant to current events, biotechnology
-have been well studied and genetic and biotechnological tools have been developed (see Halophile Manual)