Media are of different types on consistency and chemical composition.
A. On Consistency:
1.Solid Media. Advantages of solid media: (a) Bacteria may be identified by studying the colony character, (b) Mixed bacteria can be separated. Solid media is used for the isolation of bacteria as pure culture. 'Agar' is most commonly used to prepare solid media. Agar is polysaccharide extract obtained from seaweed. Agar is an ideal solidifying agent as it is : (a) Bacteriologically inert, i.e. no influence on bacterial growth, (b) It remains solid at 37°C, and (c) It is transparent.
2.Liquid Media. It is used for profuse growth, e.g. blood culture in liquid media. Mixed organisms cannot be separated.
B. On Chemical Composition :
1.Routine Laboratory Media
2.Synthetic Media. These are chemically defined media prepared from pure chemical substances. It is used in research work.
ROUTINE LABORATORY MEDIA
These are classified into six types: (1) Basal media, (2) Enriched media, (3) Selective media, (4) Indicator media, (5) Transport media, and (6) Storage media.
1.BASAL MEDIA. Basal media are those that may be used for growth (culture) of bacteria that do not need enrichment of the media. Examples: Nutrient broth, nutrient agar and peptone water. Staphylococcus and Enterobacteriaceae grow in these media.
2.ENRICHED MEDIA. The media are enriched usually by adding blood, serum or egg. Examples: Enriched media are blood agar and Lowenstein-Jensen media. Streptococci grow in blood agar media.
3.SELECTIVE MEDIA. These media favour the growth of a particular bacterium by inhibiting the growth of undesired bacteria and allowing growth of desirable bacteria. Examples: MacConkey agar, Lowenstein-Jensen media, tellurite media (Tellurite inhibits the growth of most of the throat organisms except diphtheria bacilli). Antibiotic may be added to a medium for inhibition.
4.INDICATOR (DIFFERENTIAL) MEDIA. An indicator is included in the medium. A particular organism causes change in the indicator, e.g. blood, neutral red, tellurite. Examples: Blood agar and MacConkey agar are indicator media.
5.TRANSPORT MEDIA. These media are used when specie-men cannot be cultured soon after collection. Examples: Cary-Blair medium, Amies medium, Stuart medium.
6.STORAGE MEDIA. Media used for storing the bacteria for a long period of time. Examples: Egg saline medium, chalk cooked meat broth.