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Can agar plates be stored in the freezer?


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#1 max_freakout

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:48 AM

im going to start experiementing with growing mycelium on malt-extract agar, is it possible to store poured petri dishes in the freezer before inoculating them?

Edited by coorsmikey, 05 May 2016 - 07:54 PM.


#2 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 04:16 PM

I think agar softens when you freeze it, but I'm not sure.

I always seal them with parafilm and keep them in the vegetable crisper in a gallon ziploc.

#3 Myc

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:20 PM

Ditto that.
Never stored 'em in the freezer.
Took a tip from Hippie3 and instead of wrapping with parafilm
I just slip the sleeve they came out of back over them - all done aseptically of course. The flowhood really frees things up for that type work but it could be done in a glovebox too.
Parafilm is used after transfer/ innoculation.

#4 Hippie3

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:23 PM

freezing would separate the water off,
proly not good once thawed
but i'm guessing, never froze any.

#5 Myc

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:50 PM

Well it looks like the "I don't knows" have it.
Guess I'll take one for the team and try it out.
Got some plates in the 'fridge so I'll move a couple to the freezer and report back in say........a week?
Maybe leave a couple more in there for a month?
We'll see what happens.

-edit-
So I've got 4 plates in the freezer
2 will come out in a week
2 will come out on 8/5
3 plates stored in the 'fridge vegetable crisper as controls
all poured from the same batch @ the same time
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#6 Hippie3

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 06:57 PM

if the water does pull out
proly could just re-heat agar to liquify, stir to mix and re-pour.

#7 Myc

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 07:01 PM

Yeah, I'm just doing this for the hell of it.
As much agar work as I do, no need for long term plate storage.
As for batch storage (pre-poured), I just keep it in a Qt. Mason jar in a closet in the lab. No refrigeration, nada. The batches seem to last quite awhile that way and I haven't had any problems. Thanks to the Airport tek, combined with a flowhood or glovebox, I've never had a problem with contaminated batches either.

#8 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 09:33 PM

Damn I love this place.

Cool keeping a control, Myc. Got a camera?

#9 Myc

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 12:25 AM

Got a camera?


Oh yeah!

Figure when the first test pair comes out, I'll just do a photo comparison side by side with a control.
Got an aggressive strain isolate so I'll perform a transfer to the test group and the control group at that time to see if the plates' ability to support growth was compromised somehow.

I'm not sure how to do a long-term version of this though.
I'm wondering if the freezer will dessicate the test plates over time (frost/ ice loss due to sublimation). But I don't think the controls will last that long in the refrigerator. :eusa_thin

"Agar for the Masses" rules. You've turned me into an agar geek Buckaroo!!! LOL I still use that tek even though I have a flowhood now. :bow:

#10 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 04:04 PM

Why thank you!

Even with a flowhood, the big syringe is so much easier to deal with than pouring. Lets you get a super thin layer of agar which is cool. Less condensation and your agar goes farther!

#11 Guest_psi_*

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 04:56 PM

The water and agar does separate. I store unpoured agar in the freezer and re-melt and re-sterilise as needed. If it is just left to defrost though, water gathers at the bottom while the agar remains solid.

#12 Myc

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:17 PM

Test plates remained frozen from 7/15 - 7/24
Two plates were removed and allowed to defrost overnight.
The frozen plates had a great deal of frost on them when removed from the freezer.
Upon thawing, they also had a great deal of condensation present leading me to believe that they lost quite a bit of water as a result of freezing.
Side by side comparison to a control shows that the frozen plates have a grainy texture to them now.
Control plate is pictured on the left.
IMG_1527.JPG
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A close up of a frozen plate
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Now let's throw some hungry, fence-jumping mycelium at the experiment and see if the properties of the agar have been altered.
IMG_1532.JPG
You gotta love isolate plates that isolate themselves! LOL!
I wish the myc would always do my work for me!

We'll check colonization results in a week.
The remaining two frozen plates will be removed on 8/5 (or thereabouts), while the remaining control will stay in the 'fridge.

#13 eatyualive

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 08:16 PM

awesome myc! awesome!:bow::bow:

"archive material"

#14 Myc

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:37 PM

Here are the plates after one week of incubation.
Freezing the plates for one week seems to have no negative effects.
But who is going to freeze plates for only one week?

The remaining two plates will remain in the freezer for a total of say.... 6 months. With controls remaining in the refrigerator for an equal lenth of time.
So the remainder of this experiment will continue in January.

The control plate is in the center position
IMG_1585.JPG

#15 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:41 PM

Very cool. I thought freezing would totally screw 'em.

Looks like I was wrong again...

#16 Sideshow

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 09:40 PM

Thank you so much for doing this experiment.:loveeyes:
I know what i'll be doing from now on.......
Requesting to mods that this thread be archived

#17 limeade

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 09:43 PM

yeah so i never ever have frozen agar, but I have made slants and stored them at 36*F, above freezing, but below the "temperature danger zone" 40*F - 140*F. I have had slants stay viable for some time now.

#18 Myc

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 12:11 AM

These plates have remained frozen since 7/15/08.
Removed from storage 1/4/09 and allowed to thaw for 24 hours.
Transfers made the following day from the master culture used earlier in this experiment which has been stored @ 40*F during the interim.

One of the plates doesn't appear very robust. Looks like long-term storage of cultures may effect the vitality of the mycelium. May also have been my transfer selection.
The agar itself remained gelled. It did take on an applesauce-like appearance in spots and moisture distribution throughout the plates was uneven.

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