Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Winter 2012-2913
Are agar powder and nutrient agar the same thing? Will they both work to do a experiment by growing bacteria?
Thanks for the question. I believe that agar powder and nutrient agar are the same thing. They are both sugar for bacteria. They should both work when conducting an experiment where bacteria grow.
I would recommend caution when growing bacteria. I do not know which species you are growing, but you should be aware that some bacteria can be harmful to you. Examples include Staph and Strep. I would recommend talking with your teacher before attempting to grow any bacteria.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Agar is the general term for growth media that will support bacterial growth. On occasion, a scientist may want to select for a specific bacteria and may add or remove some "nutrients" to a particular agar. Some bacteria like special agar which contains special materials that help them grow and inhibit other bacteria. So, nutrient agar will usually be the same as agar powder.
Stephen R. Dunn
Ass't Professor of Medicine (ret.)
Kimmel Cancer Center &
Division of Nephrology
Thomas Jefferson University
Agar powder is just the agar without any nutrients. Most bacteria are just like any other -they need nutrients to grow. Nutrient agar is agar powder with nutrients added.
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Update: November 2011