Candy and Bacteria Revisited
Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Spring 2012
What bacteria will grow on lollies/candy that has been wiped over an agar plate?
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.
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I'd just add, for Ryan's benefit, that agar is the food or growth medium for the bacteria. The lolly or other candy could also serve as a medium upon or throughout which the bacteria might grow. Bacterial growth through products which are eaten is a typical cause of disease in humans, pets, etc. The normal procedure is to prepare agar, then add bacteria to the surface of the agar to observe the growth, if any.
To answer the question he posed, I would offer that if the agar is newly prepared and sterile, it ideally should have no bacterial cultures upon it which might be transferred by wiping the lolly across it. IF THE AGAR HAS BACTERIA UPON IT, MEANING IF IT IS NOT STERILE, YES, INDEED BACTERIA COULD AND WOULD LIKELY BE TRANSFERRED TO THE LOLLY. Obviously, nothing like this should ever be consumed or eaten. A general rule is that nothing existing in a laboratory should EVER be eaten.
Just offered for clarification as Ryan's question seems to infer the thought that the agar is a bacterial source. If sterile, it should not be. If infected by using a loop, indeed it could be.
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Update: June 2012