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Name: Luke
status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: GA
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2011-2012


Question:
I am testing hand sanitizer brands on blood agar plates and comparing their antimicrobial activity to distilled vinegar. When I put a couple of drops of vinegar on the innoculated blood agar plate, the blood agar turned brown. Why? NEWTON BBS does not recommend growing/culturing bacteria without the supervision of a microbiologist, and a properly equipped microbiology laboratory. Safety is our main concern! Growing dangerous bacteria species unknowingly is a real possibility and serious illness may occur without proper handling techniques. Furthermore, without proper bacterial disposal procedures such as an autoclave can guarantee, there is a danger to anyone who comes in contact after disposal.



Replies:
The pH of the blood agar was lowered (made more acidic) by adding vinegar.

Judy Luke


The protein in blood that makes it red is called hemoglobin. Vinegar is an acid with a relatively low pH. Hemoglobin is adapted to working at your body's natural pH which is about 7.3-7.4. Protein denatures at pH's out of the normal range. The vinegar is probably denaturing the hemoglobin in the blood in the agar plates. The evidence of this is turning the blood brown.

vanhoeck






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