Agar for the Amateur

As with any active page, this page is continuously under construction. It is not complete and is not meant to be complete. It is intended to assist and supplement other sources. I hope to be able to provide information on low cost home labratory techniques. If you feel there is a grevious ommision that needs to me corrected, or if you have an interesting tip or hint, don't hesitate to contact me, Glider

Please read my disclaimer.

Working with agar can be an effective and rewarding approach to both microbiological culture and mycology. There are several different basic techniques that can then be modified and combined to suit the needs of your hobby. I've broken the basic subjects down into seperate pages and listed them in what I feel is a logical order. We begin with the agar preparation itself, then advance through the steps most folks are likely to need, in the order they will likely be encountered.

But first, how difficult is this really going to get? How easy or how hard is this going to be? Let's start with the most basic set up that is at all reasonably possible. Take a quart of tap water and heat it on the stove. Crush up roughly an ounce of any decent dog food as finely as possible. Mix an equal weight of plain agar into the dogfood. The agar you can get from any health food store will be just fine. Pour the hot water over the dog food and agar. Mix it well, and heat it a bit more until the agar is dissolved. Pour this mix 1/2 inch deep into the bottom of some wide mouth canning jars. The small the jars are the better. Put lids on the jars, and process them in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes at 15 psi. There, you are done. You have perfectly functional "petri dishes" that will grow a wide variety of micro-organisms. The most difficult thing about the whole process was likely using the pressure cooker. And let me assure you that many a grandmother has used a pressure cooker without having any sort of rocket science degree. Now, go get started!

  1. Agar Preparation
  2. Media Formulary
  3. Metric to SAE Conversions
  4. Petri dishes
  5. Test Tube Slants
  6. What to Do With These Slants and Plates
  7. Advanced Techniques
  8. Acknowledgements
  9. Don't have a pressure cooker? ... Buy one! But in the mean time, try these ideas.
  10. Question and Answer Section

Updated May 18, 2010; August 20, 1999 by Glider Onair

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