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How Scientists Use Common Laboratory Apparatus

written by: weborglodge•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 5/22/2010

You may wonder how researchers develop studies and the uses of common laboratory apparatus to complete them. Many items such as test tubes and pipettes have several uses for which a scientist may adapt depending upon the nature of the study.

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    Microscope

    The microscope is one of the key pieces of equipment in most laboratories. Its use allows scientists to view changes at the microscopic level. A researcher may use a microscope to carry out tests such as the IgA class anti-endomysial antibodies test to detect the presence of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder.

    These antibodies are only present in celiac patients. A technician will use the microscope to view a slide of the diluted and processed serum of the patient, using a fluorescent microscope. By observing how the serum binds with proteins, a diagnosis of the disease can be made.

    The microscope may also be used to run other tests such as complete blood counts and tests for bacterial infections. Its ease of use makes it indispensable in the lab.

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    Autoclave

    In order to carry out research, a scientist must be able to gather good, clean data. Data cannot be contaminated from the waste on instruments from earlier uses. The autoclave sterilizes medical utensils and glassware through the use of high pressure steam, ensuring that the equipment is ready of its next use.

    Studies and routine tests are some of the uses of common laboratory apparatus. Instruments such as test tubes and glass beakers are repeatedly used in a lab setting. The use of glass helps ensure that residue does not bind with material so that the steam action of the autoclave can remove it.

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    Test Kits

    Scientists will use test kits as a matter of convenience and to cut costs for assays which are used frequently such as pH. One of the uses of common laboratory apparatus such as pipettes is to make sure that measurements are precise for accurate test results.

    Using prepared test kits also guarantees that results are consistent if directions are followed properly, an important consideration for the scientist's work. The kit eliminates the chances of error due to inaccurate measuring or other mixing errors.

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    Petri Dish

    Some tests require a cultured sample in order to determine a diagnosis or other use. Using a petri dish with an agar growth medium allows a scientist to create a controlled environment for culturing bacteria, mold, or other substances. The controlled environment ensures that the sample is unadulterated.

    Scientists may also use petri dish cultures to test potential cures of diseases. By culturing the bacteria in a petri dish, a scientist can then test the response of different treatment options, making it a safe method of experimentation.

    A laboratory provides the necessary equipment and environment for scientists to conduct research. Anyone who uses the lab should be trained in the proper use of its apparatus in order to guarantee the wisest and safest use of its equipment

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    Reference

    Celiac: Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results celiac.com

    Hatt, W. K. Laboratory Manual of Testing Materials. 2007.