alternative for Paramecium culture

Fri Dec 16 09:44:07 EST 1994

Tetrahymena: an easy alternative for Paramecium

By Johanna E. Speksnijder and Elle Bijmolt, Deaprtment of Genetics, 
Center for Biological Sciences, University of Groningen, PO Box 
14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands

We now routinely use Tetrahymena cultures as an alternative for 
Paramecium to feed the smallest baby fish. Tetrahymena has two 
advantages, namely that the culture medium contains only few 
components and is easy to prepare, and that sterile cultures are 
commercially available from the Culture Collection of Algae and 
Protozoa, Freshwater Biological Association, The Ferry House, 
Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0LP, UK; phone 44-5394-42468.
The strain we use is Tetrahymena pyriformis (catalogue no. CCAP 
1630/1W), and the PPY culture medium is prepared as follows:
Dissolve 20 g proteose peptone and 2.5 g yeast extract in 1000 ml of 
distilled water, and sterilize in batches of 200 ml in 500 ml 
bottles. To start the culture, inocculate about 6 ml of dense culture 
in 200 ml fresh PPY medium, and grow for 3-4 days at room 
temperature with bottle caps opened one turn. These cultures can then 
be harvested, or kept for up to several weeks at 15 degrees 
centigrade to start new cultures. To harvest, centrifuge the cultures 
for about 3 min at 500g, and rinse with PJ salt solution (see below). 
Repeat twice to remove all PPY medium. Add a small volume of PPY 
after the last step; the culture can now be used to feed the baby 
fish. Using Tetrahymena, we have been able to grow babyfish with 
survival rates comparable to those obtained with Paramecium.   

PJ (Prescotts & James's) solution:
Make up the following three stock solutions, each in 100 ml distilled 
water: 1) 0.433 g CaCl2.2H2O and 0.162 g KCl; 2) 0.512 g K2HPO4; 3) 
0.280 g MgSO4.7H2O. Add 1 ml of each stock solution to 1 liter 
distilled water.

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