Preparations for the first bacterial collage

Preparations for the first bacterial collage

I needed to reuse the tuperware container for additional experiments, so I killed off the bacteria with bleach. After some research, it looks like it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to save future dishes. Usually, scientists working with tissue cells can “fix” or preserve cells onto glass by using chemical or heat fixation. Chemicals, however, will most likely cause the medium the bacteria are growing on to dissolve, and heat will cause it to melt.
However, after cleaning the dish, I set up the first bacterial collage. The texts I used are Devo’s “Space Junk,” Karen Judson’s “Chemical and Biological Warfare,” and Theodore Roethke’s “Cuttings” and “Cuttings (Later).” I should have some pictures tomorrow!

Bacterial Oxy

Bacterial Oxy

I played around with writing “Oxy” using my bacterial stocks as ink and inoculation loops as writing implements. For the last “Oxy,” I combined my three different bacterial stocks, and so the colonies grow up against each other to give it a unique speckled look.

Where are the words?

Bad News

I’ve tried to spray the inducing solution through a stencil onto the agar and then spreading the bacteria on top. This action appears to pick up some of the inducing agent as well so that all the bacteria becomes fluorescent.
I’ve also tried spraying the solution onto a already grown bacterial culture, but I think the solution ends up diffusing anyways, so no text is visible.
I’m going to have to figure out a new way to imprint the words onto the bacteria.

Large Petri Dish

Large Petri Dish

Its somewhat difficult to see, but I played around with different methods of streaking the bacteria on the growing medium. I also sprayed an inducing solution through the stencil, but I did not observe any fluorescence today – I don’t think I added enough. I’m going to try spraying through the stencils onto the bacteria, which will be slightly messier and will more likely contaminate the dish.

Red and Blue Fluorescence!

Red and Blue Fluorescence!

The good news: I figured out an adequate concentration of the inducing solution to make the bacteria fluorescent. The bad news: I only placed the inducing solution on half of the dish and thus expected to observe different levels of fluorescence. It’s possible that the agar was dry enough so that the inducing solution diffused into the other side. It is however more likely that streaking the bacteria onto the dish after soaking the inducing solution into the agar picked up some of the now inducer-laden agar to the other side of the plate.