Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Picture a Day - Day 70

Hellooooo from the lab.

Believe it or not but I'm actually typing this with green nitrile gloves on while I wait for something to cool down in the fridge. Ah such is the lab life, moments of pure unbridled madness racing to get it all ready followed by hours of boredom as you wait for it to get done.

I say all that because today's pictures are of everyones favorite subject, bacteria.

Don't worry though, you can't catch anything from looking at these picture. The bacteria only affects cattle so I suppose if I wanted to I could lick the plates, but frankly I'd rather not.
I was swabbing off all the bacteria to put in a tube. This is all so that I can eventually run it on a gel, but that is many days and numerous steps later. At this point it was just a few little white dots on a blood agar plate.

Yeah that really is made with blood (which is also why we buy them instead of making them in lab). There are many different plates that certain bugs will only grow on. Another popular one for many blood bugs is also chocolate.

Though I wouldn't recommend licking the chocolate plate either, nougat would be the last of your worries.

Sorry it's a touch out of focus, bacteria are very unphotogenic. But if you can see the liquid is a touch cloudy, that would be all the bacteria in there.

They're currently trapped inside of a gel like substance called agarose waiting for me to clean them up so I can then cut up the DNA and take a pretty picture. It's also a new procedure for me so I am a bit worried I'll mess up somewhere and set something on fire. Science is a lot like trying a new recipe sometimes, things take twice as long as you try it out and more than likely that pot you need will be missing at a cruicial moment.

I am by far no microbiologist but if you have any questions about bacteria I can try to answer them, or at least hem and haw til you wander off.

Has anyone out there ever messed with agar plates (if so you probably remember them being yellow, that would be LB media the most common)? Or even worse had to pour plates? Or are all my lab picture boring the snot out of you?


Leslie said...

I'm bored. But not by your pictures....

EthidiumBromide said...

You wear your gloves while you type? I wouldn't want to touch your computer... the reason I wear gloves is to not drag nasty stuff back to my desk!

I used to pour loads of plates when I did cloning, but now I just do biochem/biophys so I've moved on from the molecular side of things (thankfully, I hated cloning).

Blablover5 said...

I'm actually on the computer in lab so I'd rather wear gloves than not. Who knows what's been near it.

Linda said...

I used to pour agar plates when I was in high school for extra credit! I loved the stuff. I'm odd I know.

Rachel said...

I feel smarter just reading your posts from/about work! I like reading them. Sometimes I have to re-read parts so I can understand it (hey, I am totally NOT a math or science brained person). But I like reading it.
Out of context, if you had asked me about those "plates", I wouldn't have had a clue what you were talking about!!!

Also, I was just thinking - if I worked in your lab, I think I would be really really skinny as I don't know that I would want to eat much... just sayin'.

hwong14 said...

I loved microbiology so much. And they tell me that back in the day, doctors used to run their own labs and plate their own cultures. Not anymore, though -- unfortunate, I think, because I love bacteria!