agar

Allan Adler ara at zohar.ai.mit.edu
Mon Oct 4 03:35:56 EST 1999


I'm interested in obtaining agar for growing cultures in a home lab. 
This is just a hobby and extremely low budget.

I searched the web for suppliers but an awful lot of suppliers are
providing agar to people interested in using it in cooking, herbals,
etc., and they may be making it seem more expensive than it really
ought to be. One site for example is selling it for 75 dollars for
half a kilo.

My impression is that agar is made from seaweed. I have some seaweed
used for Japanese cooking but I don't know if I can just crumble it
up and use it for agar. I tend to doubt it. At any rate that seems
like an expensive way to make it.

Just in case I found myself at a beach and gathered some seaweed,
how would I treat it to make agar? Or do I have to have a particular
species?

I don't understand exactly what it is that makes agar such a desirable
culture medium. Why couldn't I take some grass from my lawn and treat it
to produce a culture medium? If something like that is remotely
possible, I'd be interested in trying it since it might be a lot
easier and cheaper than obtaining agar inexpensively.

Here is the general question: starting with some plant material, how
does one treat it to produce a substance one can use for a culture
medium, such as agar?

Allan Adler
ara at altdorf.ai.mit.edu

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*                                                                          *
*  Disclaimer: I am a guest and *not* a member of the MIT Artificial       *
*              Intelligence Lab. My actions and comments do not reflect    *
*              in any way on MIT. Morever, I am nowhere near the Boston    *
*              metropolitan area.                                          *
*                                                                          *
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