Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:50 pm
Occupation: Student

Grow E. Coli without an incubator

Postby BlairHaft » Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:58 pm

I need to grow a reconstituted E. Coli culture for my biology IA, but I do not have access to an incubator. I started the project following instructions from my neutralizing bacteria kit, and it has been five days without significant bacteria growth. There are a few spots of bacteria on the agar, but not enough growth to measure the area of inhibition.

Should I give the bacteria a few more days to grow? Or should I completely trash these agar plates and try again? If I do try again, how should I go about it without an incubator?

Posts: 68
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:40 am
Occupation: Expert

Re: Grow E. Coli without an incubator

Postby brandimiller610 » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:29 am

Hi BlairHaft,

I hope you are having a great day and thank you for your question!

E. coli grows best at 37 degrees Celsius, but it is possible for the bacteria to grow at room temperature, which is what I assume you have been using thus far. I definitely don't think you should go past 5 days of incubation/growth; therefore, I suggest trashing the agar plates you currently have and starting again. Do you have access to any type of environment that can be set to 37 degrees C? This is the optimal temperature but if you have any type of aerobic environment that can be set to 30 C or 42 C, these might also work. At 37 degrees C, you can get great E. coli growth in just 12-16 hrs.

I also would like to know -- how much bacteria are you inoculating onto your plates? If you are not inoculating enough, there is a chance that you're not seeing growth, especially since you also do not have access to the optimal growth conditions for these bacteria.

I hope this helps! Please feel free to let us know if you have any more questions. Good luck with growing your bacteria!


Return to “Grades 9-12: Life, Earth, and Social Sciences”