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Increase the Visibility of Microbial Growth in a Winogradsky Column by Substituting Diatomaceous Earth for Sediment

    Author: Thomas G. Benoit1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, McMurry University, Abilene, TX 79697
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 May 2015
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, McMurry University, S. 14th & Sayles Blvd., Abilene, TX 79697. Phone: 325-793-3869. E-mail: tbenoit@mcm.edu.
    • ©2015 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 85-86. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.889
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    Abstract:

    The difficulty students have seeing the color associated with microbial growth in a traditional Winogradsky column can be overcome by substituting diatomaceous earth (DE) for sediment. Microbial growth in a DE column is visible from the early stages of ecological succession and the colors produced appear more vibrant. A flat-sided tissue culture flask can be used as a column container to provide a large surface area for observation. The enhanced visual experience provided by a DE column increases student engagement and learning.

Key Concept Ranking

Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria
0.52637905
Sulfur Cycle
0.4912871
Sulfur Bacteria
0.4521688
Culture Media
0.42987624
0.52637905

References & Citations

1. Charlton PJ, McGrath JE, Harfoot CG1997The Winogradsky plate, a convenient and efficient method for the enrichment of anoxygenic phototrophic bacteriaJ Microbiol Meth3016116310.1016/S0167-7012(97)00051-1 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0167-7012(97)00051-1
2. Rogan B, Lemke M, Levandowsky M, Gorrel T2005Exploring the sulfur nutrient cycle using the Winogradsky columnAm Biol Teach6734835610.1662/0002-7685(2005)067[0348:ETSNCU]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2005)067[0348:ETSNCU]2.0.CO;2
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.889
2015-05-01
2017-11-21

Abstract:

The difficulty students have seeing the color associated with microbial growth in a traditional Winogradsky column can be overcome by substituting diatomaceous earth (DE) for sediment. Microbial growth in a DE column is visible from the early stages of ecological succession and the colors produced appear more vibrant. A flat-sided tissue culture flask can be used as a column container to provide a large surface area for observation. The enhanced visual experience provided by a DE column increases student engagement and learning.

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FIGURE 1.

Three DE columns in tissue culture flasks. Left: a freshly inoculated DE column. Middle: a DE column inoculated from cattle tank sediment in an early stage of ecological succession at 3 weeks post-inoculation. Right: a DE column inoculated from lake sediment in a later stage of ecological succession at 6 weeks post-inoculation and exhibiting the formation of zones of microbial growth.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2015 vol. 16 no. 1 85-86. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v16i1.889
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