Lab/ Agar/ Gram Staining


Mark bought in these great jelly moulds for us to start experimenting with moulding agar and seeing how it would hold its shape in a dense block. DSC04575 DSC04576

We followed the previously learnt method of setting agar – heating the rim of the agar in order to sterilise it.




Whilst we waited for these to set (in ice to speed it up), Mark started to teach us about gram-staining, which is something I have previously posted research about. It was great to have a go and to have a look up-close at the bacteria – as a complete science novice, they looked so beautiful and it was completely fascinating.


We had a look at some of the bacteria we grew from various parts of the face before, and are just so happy with the outcomes. We took some swabs in order to start the gram-staining process.

IMG_1415 IMG_1417 IMG_1420 Using a tiny pipette we put a small blob of water onto the slide and then scraped off a small section of bacteria from the alginate and mixed it together until it formed a thin paste that didn’t have many lumps in it.

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The pipette then had to be placed into a bucket of bleach to kill off any bacteria – at this point we are still unaware of what bacteria we have grown. Although they have come from our faces, Mark explained to us that as we have incubated them and grown them in large numbers, they could now be harmful.


The slides then need to be heated over the bunsen burner in order to evaporate any excess water that is still on the slide. They are then placed on the glass holder over the sink ready to be stained. DSC04592 DSC04593 DSC04594

The Gram Stain Procedure

First, Crystal Violet solution is used to cover the entire stain on the slide and left for 30 seconds..

Secondly, the violet is washed off with water, and Iodine solution is placed over the purple and left for 30 seconds…


Thirdly, decolorisation causes all the violet to run off, and then our gram stains are ready to be looked at under the microscope! We continued this method for each of our slides:


The Finished Result !  All ready to be looked at.



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