Fungus or bacteria?
Name: Gordon T Davis
My biology class is growing bacteria cultures taken from different areas on
the school campus. How can we accurately classify bacteria from fungus
in the petri dish?
How advanced is your class? In general, fungi look like they are made of tiny
threads, or they appear to have tiny dots on top of the colony. But this isn't fool-proof.
There are lots of books out with good pictures of various bacteria and fungi; you need
to be careful, though, since you could end up growing some things that you'd rather not
have everyone exposed to - be sure to sterilize the culture dishes with bleach or in a
pressure cooker (depending on the type of plate you are using!) before throwing them away.
Also be sure that everyone uses sterile techniques, washes their hands thoroughly,
doesn't get too close to the dishes with their faces, etc.
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Update: June 2012