Bacterium Captive/Cultivated? Guides?

Do I ever need to mark a bacterium which has not been intentionally grown or cultivated under lab conditions as captive/cultivated?

The example I currently have in mind would be bacteria scraped from abandoned food items or worktops where neither has been intentionally left dirty. In addition, does anyone know of comprehensive guides to the bacteria commonly found in the home and on the body?


I’m not an expert in this area, but I think that cultured bacteria from a sample can be used as evidence of an organism. Just make sure the location and date are where you took the sample.


How do you go about trying to identify the bacteria?

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Interesting question, given that cultivating a sample is the way to ID most bacteria. Good luck finding a single one on a surface to observe…

I think it would be reasonable to post an observation of a bacterium cultured from a surface with the date/time that the swab was taken and notes that make it clear the observation is intended to be for the original bacterium/a swabbed. I’d also leave notes/comment explaining what you did and why. Even then, you might get some honest disagreements in the DQA voting, but I think bacteria are such a small part of iNat that it isn’t a major issue.


I don’t think an environmental isolate that was cultured in a lab for characterization purposes would be considered “cultivated”; if it’s a strain of E.coli that’s cultivated for lab use that you ordered on the internet that would definitely be a captive obs.


However, as someone already mentioned, I have no idea how you’ll identify it without sequencing or growing it. Looking at it with a microscope may help you narrow it down but you’re probably not gonna get a conclusive species ID from that. There are only a few types of bacteria that are somewhat easy to ID just from looking at them, like some that cause specific diseases in plants with identifiable symptoms. Otherwise there just aren’t really any methods to identify bacteria that the average person would have access to.

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Thank you all. I have a much better idea of what will be required, now. Seems I can narrow it down for most based on the host but will have to cultivate samples if I want species IDs for almost all of them. Since I have limited time, it might be best to reserve my microscopy for plants for the moment and observe bacteria on an ad hoc basis until I can get a lab fridge etc.

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