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One of the most frequently cited criteria by which bacteria are classified involves the reaction of individual species to the Gram staining procedure. As a result, bacteria are classified as either Gram-positive or Gram-negative. Gram staining is generally the first step in identifying an unknown bacterial species and is routinely used in even the most sophisticated microbiological laboratories. The Gram staining technique requires relatively few reagents, is well defined, and can be successfully practiced with a few simple steps.