Using dead E. coli as worm food

Mon Sep 26 12:07:38 EST 1994

Re heat-killed E. coli as worm food:

About 15 years ago, Dick Russell and I did some careful expts. on this.
Autoclaving doesn't work well, as the cells clump and the clumps are
too big for worms to ingest. Milder heat-killing avoids this, but it
seems that it produces something (only partially removable by washing)
that inhibits worm growth.

The best alternative we found was to use streptomycin-killed OP50. At
concentrations of 200-400 microgm/ml, OP50 is efficiently killed in a
few hours. The metabolic state of these cells is unclear. The incidence
of strep-resistant mutant OP50 is low enough not to worry. UV-killing
is a decent alternative, but a pain for large quantities.

If someone has a particular objective in mind for using dead E. coli, let
me know and I might be able to help.

Lew Jacobson
Biological Sciences
Univ. Pittsburgh

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