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By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Microbial Colonies

Colony Form

PinpointSmaller than 1 mm.
CircularA circle larger than 1 mm.
IrregularA non-circular shape.
FilamentousResembling a bunch of strings.

Colony Elevation

Cushionfigure of a cushion-shaped colony
Raisedfigure of a raise-shape colony
Flatfigure of a flat-shaped colony
Raised Centerfigure of a raise-center-shaped colony

Colony Surface

SmoothSmooth colony surface.
RoughRough colony surface.
RingedA colony surface with rings.

Colony Texture

AmorphousA typical textureless colony.
GranularChunky and sand-like.
FluffyA fluffy texture, like bread or a smoothie.
MucoidRunny, like mucous.

Colony Optics

OpaqueLight does not penetrate the colony.
TranslucentLight somewhat penetrates the colony.
TransparentLight can fully penetrate the colony.
IridescentColony is iridescent, like foil.

Cell Morphology

Baccilus (Rod)Rod.
SpiriliumCurved baccilus. Spirilium is also spelled spirrilium.
AppendagedBacteria possessing extensions as tubes or stalks.
FilamentousBacteria which form long, thin cells or chains of cells.
EndosporeEndospore nucleuses can be centered (central), at one end (terminal) or off-center (subterminal).
FlagellaPeritrichous flagella are located all across the cell surface; polar flagella are located at one location.
CapsuleCapsules have a thick polysaccharide layer surrounding the cell.


There are three cardinal temperatures: minimum, optimum, and maximum.

The minimum and maximum are the most extreme temperatures at which the microbe can grow. At the optimum temperautre, the microbe can grow the most.

The optimum temperature is generally near the maximum.

Very ColdPsychrophile
Cold ViablePsychrotolerant
Extremely HotHyperthermophile
pH < 5Acidophile
5 < pH < 9Neutrophile
pH > 9Alkaliphile
Dies w/ O2Obligate anaerobe
Dies w/o O2Obligate aerobe
Viable w/ & w/o O2Facultative aerobe
Viable w/o O2Tolerant anerobe
High [NaCl]Halophile

Microbial Metabolism

Uses Unfixed CarbonAutotroph
Needs Fixed CarbonPrototroph
Ferments LactoseColiform