Home bacterial incubator.

David L. Haviland, Ph.D. dhavilan at IMM2.IMM.UTH.TMC.EDU
Thu May 1 10:01:33 EST 1997

At 13:06 5/1/97 GMT, Robert  Cowherd wrote:


>This is not a very important, nor wide spread problem but here goes...

I wouldn't say that at all...  public education is a an unwritten mandate
in our graduate training.  If we can't educate John/Jane.Q.Public in
science, how can we expect them to want to have science funded?

>I am helping a couple of eleven year olds to do a "science project."  I 
>suggested that they do a study on the efficacy of hand washing and soap 
>manufacturer's claims of being "antibacterial."  I've made some plates 
>and tried a pilot run by touching the agarose then leaving the plates out 
>on the counter.  Some 36 hours later there are one or two colonies.  
>Time is not real important but I can't carry plates to and fro from home 
>(their's) to the lab on a daily basis.  Any ideas about a simple 
>incubator?  I've thought about using the hot water heater as a heat 
>source.  Perhaps the small area around it might approximate 37 degrees 
>C.  Anyone else have an alternative?  Thanks.

Out of lazyness, I have conducted ligations and transformations on fridays,
and simply left the plates on my bench at room temp till monday.  I see
colonies just as I would had I left them in the 37'C incubator for 24 hours.

One idea, get a hold of a decent sized box, say 2-3 cubit feet.  Just put a
25W lamp in there.  That will warm it up above room temp but heat leakage
from the box will likely prevent it going much above 35-ish.  It depends on
how soon you  need to see results and how often the class meets.  The box
with the lamp may very well yeild colonies within 24 hours.  (I often turn
on the 60W bulb in my electric oven a hour before I put my bread in there
to rise - works quite well, so I see no reason why a similar approach
wouldn't work for growing bacterial colonies.)  I know, this is the methods
sub, not rec.food.cooking!

Hope this helps,

 David L. Haviland, Ph.D.
 Asst. Prof. Immunology 
 University of Texas - Houston, H.S.C.
 Institute of Molecular Medicine  
 2121 W. Holcombe Blvd.  
 Houston, TX  77030 
 Internet:"dhavilan at imm2.imm.uth.tmc.edu" 
 Voice: 713.500.2413  FAX: 713.500.2424
" Sometimes you're the windsheild, sometimes you're the bug."

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