Skip to Content

ELVIS Meltdown!

Microbiology Concepts of Culture, Growth, and Metabolism


Author(s)

Richard C. Stewart
Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics
University of Maryland
alec@umd.edu
Ann C. Smith
Office of Undergraduate Studies
University of Maryland
asmith@umd.edu
Patricia A. Shields
Department of Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics
University of Maryland
pshields@umd.edu

Abstract

In this interrupted case study, students assume the role of a microbiologist working at a chemical company that makes polyurethane. When a collection unit designed to pick up extraterrestrial (ET) samples (nicknamed ELVIS) returns to earth, much of the polyurethane material had been degraded. Using information given to them in the case, the students' task is to analyze the samples and to “isolate and characterize” the ET microbes that may be responsible for the polyurethane degradation. The case was developed for an introductory general microbiology course for biology and non-biology majors.


Objectives

  • To understand and apply knowledge of bacterial structure and function.
  • To understand the isolation and growth properties of microorganisms.
  • To understand and apply principles of microbial metabolism.
  • To understand the mechanisms of microbial growth and how to control growth.

Keywords

Bacteria; microbe; microbial growth; microbial degradation; light microscopy; phenotypic; phylogenetic; Gram positive; Gram negative; disinfection; sterilization; polyurethane

Topical Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Interrupted, Role-Play

Language

English

Subject Headings

Microbiology  |  


Date Posted

11/19/08

Teaching Notes

Case teaching notes are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

Comments