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