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Types of Culture Media

Updated on March 11, 2017

A culture media is a special medium used in microbiological laboratories to grow different kinds of microorganisms. A growth or a culture medium is composed of different nutrients that are essential for microbial growth.

Since there are many types of microorganisms, each having unique properties and requiring specific nutrients for growth, there are many types based on what nutrients they contain and what function they play in the growth of microorganisms.

A culture may be solid or liquid. The solid culture media is composed of a brown jelly like substance known as agar. Different nutrients and chemicals are added to it to allow the growth of different microorganisms.

Below given are some types of important culture or growth media used in microbiological laboratories:

Agar Plate with bacterial colonies
Agar Plate with bacterial colonies

The Preservation Culture Media

This is composed of all the basic nutrients required for a microbial growth and is used to preserve a specific type of microorganism, preferably bacteria or a set of different microbial entities for a long period of time.

The basic purpose of this culture is to let these microorganisms grow safely in an ensured environment that has all the important nutrients and to protect them against any environmental damage so these organisms can be used when needed.

The Enrichment Culture Media

This is a liquid medium which allows the microorganisms to multiply and has the essential nutrients that are required for it.

It is usually composed of bacteria taken from a liquid source such as pond water. The basic nutrient broth is the most commonly used.

Selective Media Plate
Selective Media Plate

Selective Culture Media

This is a special type of media which allows the growth of certain microorganisms while inhibits the growth of the others.

For example if we want to isolate a specific bacteria let’s say that can with stand an acidic environment from a sample of pond water and get rid of others, a selective media with a low pH will be taken which will allow the growth of only those organisms that can withstand acidity and will kill the others that cannot.

Examples of commonly used selective media includes: PALCAM agar medium or Mac conkey agar medium.

Differential Culture Media

This is a media that is used for differentiating between bacteria by using an identification marker for a specific type of microorganism.

The selective and differential culture media are opposites to each other in a way that one inhibits the growth of other organisms while allowing the growth of some while the other does not kill the others but only highlights one type.

Blood agar is a common differential culture medium used to identify bacteria that causes haemolysis in blood.

Resuscitation Culture Media

This is a special type of media which is used for growing microorganisms that are damaged and have lost the ability to produce due to certain harmful environmental factors.

This culture allows the organisms to regain their metabolism by providing the nutrients that the organisms had been deprived of. For example, a type of bacteria that requires histamine for its growth is subjected to a medium lacking this essential component its growth will be inhibited.

If the same bacteria is then placed in a medium consisting of histamine it will start to grow again. In this case the media containing histamine will act as resuscitation media. An example of a commonly used resuscitation culture media is the tryptic soya agar.

Fermentation Media
Fermentation Media

General Purpose Media

The general purpose media is a media that has a multiple effect, i.e. it can be used as a selective, deferential or a resuscitation media.   

Isolation Culture Media

An isolation culture medium is a simple agar containing solid medium that allows the growth of microorganisms in the direction of the streaks.

For example the bacteria will only grow on the pattern made on the solidified agar during the streak plate method. This is the most commonly used medium in microbiological labs.

Fermentation Media

The fermentation culture media is a liquid selective media which is used to obtain a culture of a specific organism more likely yeast or a particular toxin.

The fermentation media can also be differential but mostly it is selective in nature that is allowing the growth of one type while inhibiting the growth of others.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      being a microbiologist, its interesting to see such information coming from an electrical engineer! good work!

    • profile image

      carlo 5 years ago

      thnx for the info . very useful in my study :)

    • profile image

      Bayan 5 years ago

      thanks .... :)

    • profile image

      marlyn 5 years ago

      thanks very much for the info.... it has helped me a lot!

    • profile image

      Diodemise Augustine 5 years ago

      I appreciate dis work it has helped me in studies. Keep it up and God bless..

    • profile image

      Pragya 5 years ago

      Realy,,its help a lot..

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      sushil chuhan 5 years ago

      these are a very simple method but can if it use in cultre media an enrichment media to [1]blood whole [2]serum [3]peptones [4]lysed blood [5]vitamins.these are exemple for [1] blood agar [2] tryptone soya media .these are avery different part an essy method.

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      Geethu. 5 years ago

      This info helped me a lots n my studies.. Thanks..

    • profile image

      Oyelami fatimah 5 years ago

      Pls kindly list organism that can grow on selective and enrichment media.thanks

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      Kibet vincent 5 years ago

      I thank you a lot for the info but do we have what we cal the basic culture media

    • profile image

      kyle 5 years ago

      thanks for the info and it helped me a ton i got an A on my test thanks a lot again for all the help you have given everybody

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      tanveer ahmad 5 years ago

      this article is useful in my study for preparation of exam thanku

    • profile image

      Titi ojo 5 years ago

      I kind of like this info but can u pls explain better on orgs likely 2 grw on each type of agar u mentioned

    • profile image

      siva prasad mora 5 years ago

      It s good for basics and one saggition give some examples for each media .Thanku

    • profile image

      VERA,MAHA,MAGGI 5 years ago

      REALLY VERY HELPFUL

    • profile image

      avril 5 years ago

      can u pls give us those examples of culture media?

    • profile image

      rupa 5 years ago

      thanku sooooo much

    • profile image

      himanshu 5 years ago

      thanx . . . Basic concept is clear nw

    • profile image

      mahi 5 years ago

      thanks 4 tat but its not enough

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      titiksha 5 years ago

      realy helpful...... Bt it wud b more easier if u mention examples of nutrient medium....

    • profile image

      siva prasad mora 5 years ago

      good explanation of types and give some examples for good identification thanks

    • profile image

      Akinola happiness temitope 5 years ago

      May God bless u,dis informatn has rily helped me a lot.tnx...

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      Lamidi-olatunji abosede 5 years ago

      This is a very useful information. Kudos!

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      Saira Baig 5 years ago

      This article really helpful for me while writing my thesis. Thank you for sharing such information

    • profile image

      victor 5 years ago

      It help us a lot thanx

    • profile image

      manal nasri 5 years ago

      thanks a lot for info

    • profile image

      suzie... 5 years ago

      the answer i was looking for.. thx a zillion..

    • profile image

      shadrack maganga 5 years ago

      much helping!!!

    • profile image

      DISMAS SANG 5 years ago

      Thanks for this provision it is helping alot

    • profile image

      hapuarachchi 5 years ago

      really helpful

    • profile image

      Abubakar lajawa 5 years ago

      Thanks 4 d informations given

    • profile image

      pan 5 years ago

      thankzzzzzzzzzzz

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      daniel 5 years ago

      of all it is helpful thanx a lot.

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      jabulani .t 5 years ago

      Very helpful information but i wish you would also include the types of bacteria that are grown in each media. good work!

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      BRIGHT O C 5 years ago

      thanks for the work it help me a lot in my preperations. please which organism wil grow on the media's that u listed

    • profile image

      BRIGHT O C 5 years ago

      thanks for the work it help me a lot in my preperations. please which organism wil grow on the media's that u listed

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      Nwankwo stevo 5 years ago

      The information is very helpful but can you give an example of each media

    • profile image

      fiza 5 years ago

      thanks for diferentiating all d media's. it was very helpful in my studies. grt job.

    • profile image

      carol 5 years ago

      thanks for helping my seminar

    • profile image

      peter 5 years ago

      good work but give us excamples

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      hilton mutai 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot info is useful to me.

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      Tina 5 years ago

      This is wonderful information even for someone who is a medical assistant student trying to understand the basics of microbiology. Even the simplest information on microbiology appears complex to me...and this is coming from an engineer? It's amazing your knowledge on microbiology when you are actually an engineer...what a genius!!

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      Deezu 5 years ago

      Tanx so much,pls can u tell me d name of d media on which fermentative bacteria can grow?

    • profile image

      Simeon Paul 5 years ago

      Great and excellent with people like u forward is ever

    • profile image

      Christiana emma 5 years ago

      Tanx it helps a lot

    • profile image

      Folasade 5 years ago

      Tnx so much as dis realy help me 2 carry out my seminar topic,but can u tell me d instruments used in seeding,storage/transportation of culture media

    • profile image

      Folasade 5 years ago

      I realy tnk u so much as dis wil help me 2 carry my seminal topic,can u tell me d instrument used in seeding n storage/transportation of culture media

    • profile image

      Victor 5 years ago

      Thank you for this enriching information.

    • profile image

      Mariecruz 5 years ago

      Tnx.dis was very explanatory

    • profile image

      Mawande 5 years ago

      This info will always help.....thanks a lot

    • profile image

      Vivian chiamaka 5 years ago

      Thanks you very much i appreciate

    • profile image

      OMOTOLA 5 years ago

      This is really helpful

    • profile image

      Beecee 5 years ago

      So helpful,thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      pat 5 years ago

      tnx a lot.

    • profile image

      alyc 7 weeks ago

      awesome

    • profile image

      Peter odhiambo 6 weeks ago

      It has really helped me do my assignments.. Thank you for this

    • profile image

      Dream 2 weeks ago

      Thnx a lot

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      Manisha Prajapati 9 days ago

      How many types of culture media

      Can you explaine please

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