Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Candy and Bacteria Revisited

Name: Ryan
Status: student
Grade:  n/a
Location: Outside U.S.
Country: Australia
Date: Spring 2012


Question:
What bacteria will grow on lollies/candy that has been wiped over an agar plate?



Replies:
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.

We have this topic addressed from previous requests within our archives. NEWTON BBS Ask A Scientist Program

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/archive.htm

With 20 000 articles and sporting an all volunteer organization with 140 million hits a year on our site, we do not have time to search the article(s) for you.


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.

Thanks for using NEWTON! Ric Rupnik



Click here to return to the Molecular Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory