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Hand print on a large TSA plate from an 8 1/2 year old boy after playing outside. © Tasha Sturm, Cabrillo College. Courtesy American Society for Microbiology “Microbe World”

The photo above from the American Society of Microbiology caused a mix of reactions on social and other media a few weeks ago. Tasha Sturm, a microbiology lab technician at Cabrillo College, had her 8 year old son who had been playing outside and petting his dog put his hand on a large plate of bacterial media. She incubated it for a week and has a beautiful photograph of the results.

Reactions to the photo range from “ugh – this is why we wash our hands” to “wow – how beautiful” and “how can I do the same thing?”

I was thrilled that many people asked how to culture bacteria at home. Not everyone has access to laboratory media and autoclaves, but you can make some in your own kitchen to conduct your own experiments. Alternatively, you can purchase plates through Carolina Biological or even Amazon. See the Amazon affiliate links below for two different types of common nutrient rich media that will grow many environmental and human bacteria (Lysogeny/Luria Broth and Tryptic Soy Agar).

Over this long holiday weekend, we’ll be swabbing and culturing different surfaces and conducting experiments the kids design. I’ll post photos next week.

If YOU decide to do some bacterial culturing – please feel free to share photos and your findings in the comments section of this post. I’d love to see what you come up with!!

Also – if you do culture anything, use common sense. Don’t lick the plates (with or without bacterial colonies) and when you’re done, pour bleach on the plates and let them sit for 15 minutes before throwing them away. Looking forward to seeing what grows!!!

Amazing Bacteria Science Kit – Prepoured Agar Plates and Swabs Science Kit – Top Science Fair Project Kit – Nutrient Rich Agar for More Bacteria Growth – Includes Simple Instructions and Experiment Ebook – Have Fun While Learning Microbiology Now!

EZ BioResearch Pre-poured LB Agar Plates and Cotton Swabs Science Kit

Making a purchase within 24 hours of clicking on these Amazon affiliate links help to support this blog.

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