Use Jars for agar, AND see you cultures clearly.
Maybe this already exists and I just haven’t seen it, it would not surprise me in the least.
If it doesn’t exist, then here is my contribution. If it does, then here is my take on it.
I am somewhat new to Mycology, so please make me aware of any errors in my novice thinking. I am not claiming to know anything, just sharing what I believe to be a cool innovation.
These are clear top (plexiglass) jars that can be used for agar. Many people seem to think jars are a better route than petri dishes. The downside of jars, as I have seen it discussed and what drove me to solve this issue for myself, is that one cannot easily monitor, or have a good look at the culture and be certain of whats goin on in there without opening the lid, which can introduce contamination to your sterile culture.
Much Gratitude to CatsAndBats for democratizing Agar. I was feeling Orange vibes on this particular day.
Since I was going to make some Agar jars for the first time, I thought there must be a way to remedy this lid situation. First, I called the local glass shop. Their circle cutting tools can’t go that small. So I just got a sheet of 1/8" plexiglass from them and decided I’d try to make my own. I put a cutting bit on my dremel, traced some jar lids and went for it. I think the plexiglass was about 15 bucks for a 24" x 18" piece. Luckily they leave the paper on the glass which makes writing on it easy. The first couple circles were rough until I got a feel for cutting it.
They dont have to be perfect, just round-ish and able to cover the diameter of the jar (2.5" I think). It’s better to go big and then trim down the edges a little at the end so it fits snugly inside of the metal ring/lid. I am considering experimenting with adding a little glue or silicone in a few spots to where the glass and the rim meet. Then in theory its one piece and smoother/easier to remove when working with cultures..... in theory....
You need a dremel, some other rotary tool, or some other clever way to cut the plexiglass.
On my dremel, I have a flexible extension piece that makes using the tool much easier when doing more precise work. I’m sure one could get by without it, but it’s nice. Here is a picture of the dremel, the plexiglass sheet, and the bit I used.
And here is my first ever culture on Agar, taken from a Cost Rican Cube.
I left the jar lids pretty loose when putting them in the PC, and also covered them with foil. As you can see there is some condensation on the lid of the jar with the culture in it. There is also some water on the surface of the agar in some of the jars. Is that normal? I’m wondering where the extra moisture came from. Could it be from not letting the agar cool fully before PCing I thought I did, but I’m not certain it was 100% cooled. Is condensation likely to happen no matter what I do? In some jars the condensation cleared up after a few days, but some still had condensation and/or moisture on the surface of the agar. Like this one, you can see there is a small puddle when I tilted the jar.
This clear lid stuff needs more experimenting to find out the best way to have no (or little) condensation for a clear view
I’m going to experiment with this more, by next time….
- Putting the lids on a bit tighter on some jars, and loose on others to note the difference.
- Being 100% sure the agar has fully cooled before putting the lid on to PC.
Any other thoughts?
Thanks to all who have shared their knowledge on here.
I am very grateful for this community and knowledge base.