What’s on the surface of insects?

Step 1:The pond at Newton GPC (annoyingly fancified by Google)

The pond at Newton GPC (annoyingly fancified by Google)

Step 2:

Little bit of Ethyl Acetate.  Hopefully doesn't affect the microbes; probably should look into that.

Little bit of Ethyl Acetate. Hopefully doesn’t affect the microbes; probably should look into that.

Step 3:

Place each insect into sterile* 4 dram vials containing Alga Gro Media, incubate for a period of time long enough to back to pond with a pipette to get 100ul straight pond water.

Dunk tanks of Alga Gro Broth.  *ALL* dead, *mostly* sterile.

Dunk tanks of Alga Gro Broth. *ALL* dead, *mostly* sterile.

Step 4:

Remove insects with sterile* forceps, spread 250ul onto nutrient  agar plates.  Incubate at room temperature 5 days.

Negative control: Ru Ruh!

Negative control: Ru Ruh!

*sterile – Oh what I wouldn’t give for an autoclave that I can run whenever I want.  I had to sterilize the vials with 70% ethanol (didn’t make myself, might not be exactly 70% (oh what I wouldn’t give for a 2L bottle of 95% ethanol)).  So things were “as sterile as I could make them”.  I processed the samples A, B, C, D, + Pond, then Blank.

Conclusions (well, I guess “Suspicions” is more accurate):  Given that all of the contamination on the Blank plate is mold and looks like the same species, and there are a variety of species on the insect samples, at least some of those probably came from the insects.

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About SubOptimist

I am an Associate Professor in the Science Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Clarkston. I teach introductory biology courses at both the majors and non-majors level in addition to microbiology. Previous to that I spent 7 years as a postdoctoral researcher on different viruses. While I don't miss being on the "grant treadmill", I think better when I write and miss writing up data for papers and grants; this blog helps me with that a little. And sometimes my kids' insanely funny and cute antics need to be shared with the world. Any view expressed in this blog is that of me personally and not Georgia Perimeter College or the GPC Clarkston Science Department.
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