A Developing Plating Disaster

Over the past few days I’ve been watching my agar plates enact Lord of the Flies. The organisms descended into chaos.

Don't mistake this for a serene picture. It's chaos.

It appears that an aggressive Pythium species was in my experiment soil. I’m not concerned about its role in the actual experiment, but it has caused problems in the plating exercises and isolations I’ve been trying to do post-experiments. This is what many of the plates look like upon closer examination:

Mycelium on the plate surface.

A rapid growing white hyphae dominated many of the plates (both the negative and positive controls included). Pythium will usually grow faster than Phytophthora during plating, but I’ve never had it dominate so thoroughly.

The guilty party, which looks like a Pythium to me.

Right now I am watching my root plates, hoping the same organism does not appear. I’ve seen a little of it, but not the same level the soil plates had.

All quiet on the root plates.

If one facet of my 2010 summer fir experiments had to go wrong the plating is the best area for that to happen. I can continue to retest the soil and roots, it’s not a one and done situation like many other aspects of the experiments. The downside is that it is time consuming and I am getting short on plating supplies.

The sad thing about this entire process is how minor a part it is in relation to the experiment as a whole. Sometimes small things can create big problems.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Developing Plating Disaster

  1. arwa

    heyyy ;)
    i’m having the same problem. actually i have a lot of problems (speacially about isolation from citrus trunk) and no one to ask for advice (there is no previous work here in tunisia about phytophthora spp.\except infestans) . will it be ok to ask you!
    ps: i’ve been visiting your blog and i really really loved the fact that you are enjoying your work. its so obvious and it made me smile:)

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