The Slime Mould Collective

An international network of/for intelligent organisms


Thanks to some truly excellent people here, I am able to continue some work on slime mold. Something that came up in an email conversation was liquid culturing.

Now my first thought was, this is pretty straight forward! In theory it is simple, low nutrient solution and add bacteria for feeding. Then i started to dig deeper, there isnt much information I have found at the moment.

Two immediate problems you face are, choice of bacteria.

Well needs to be able to grow/survive in low nutrients.

Needs to not grow so rapidly you get a crash, or it out competes.

So many bacteria to choose from, but so far have ruled a vast number out for one reason or other. First we are going to build up some stocks, normal method just so we have enough to play with.

The headache is, I have searched for, but never found wild stocks anywhere near to me! I am really surprised about this. That would solve alot of problem, simple sampling techniques would give the answers, I would likely just culture whatever I found it feeding off in the water.

I have made some calls, and was really surprised to find that no one I am aware of uses liquid culturing. Its a shame because if we can crack that...........You could have vast numbers extremely quickly.

I will keep you all updated on progress, and in roughly 2 months or so, you can add me to the supply list. I am more than happy to supply others, I am acutely aware that at the moment it falls on a small number of people.

So to repay the kindness, I will be culturing extra to my needs and storing dry.

The other news is a new website that is going up, its not intended to distract from here. Its actually a support site for a project I am involved with, but alot of what we will be doing, is going to be documented on it.

Obviously I will also update on here as well. Just so your all aware, its a site intended for schools in an outreach project, so it dosnt have a public forum, there is also no way to comment there unless your in the project. So if you take a peek when its up, please ask questions here.

Views: 217

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm not sure the diploid phase would feed off bacteria in suspension, there's loads in the literature on LC and it's used for bulking up the haploid cells and maintaining them but plasmodial culture is always done in a rich medium. When we're feeding them on oats that's about as rich as you can get and it thrives, mine take about 4 hours to fully engulf their final feed before harvest and that's about 100g dry material with a splash of water.

One of the issues would be providing enough food - if I'm growing a big mass it'll get fed around 400g of dry oats over four days to give me grams of harvestable biomass. In LC to match that you'd need to provide at least an equivalent dry mass of bacteria.

Hi Ian, unfortunately I am leaving some vital information out.

I will email you details of what I havnt said, you are correct regarding rich media and the literature. However something was brought to my attention, if it was my own work I would share without question.

But for this I am trying to replicate some conditions, life would be much more simple if people publish or abandon! Now for the heretic part.... I have serious doubts we have all phases recognized. I should let this go really, maybe my information wrong, maybe the work I have seen is wrong. 

If its ok with you, I would like to ask for permission to share something with you. Once I have permission I will email you the files. There is also micro graphs and genetic data, how accurate the genetic information is I cant say. The work was started a while ago, the person who did the first research is unfortunately dead.

If I get the go ahead take a look at it, tell me what you think. I would really love to replicate it. I have no idea why the issue of sharing this, is even a problem. Maybe the family or whoever thinks its some kind of money tree. I have no idea, but I can promise you one thing. Take a look and then tell me your not baffled.

The film is poor quality, I think its from VHS media originally. I dont know very much about the details, but I have seen one live culture. I have been refused access to further access on any level, I would move on normally, but I have a nag!

By the way......An update

only 2 papers didnt do anything, the others have been deployed. A couple have jumped the gun and started, two classes just wouldnt/couldnt wait. They have gone down a storm!! A good number of the kids would like some for home, we will be sorting that out for end of term!

And its likely we will all be seeing you in March!

Only other update, we have someone looking at media, mainly because of drying out issues and long weekends. So everything from water beads to starch and finally alginate with a chloride skin!! The lot is being tried, we are running with this. Its a suggestion from a class, so we are letting them solve what they perceive is a problem.

Yes I am aware it isnt a problem, but i figured it had some education merit considering the class is aged 10. Actually that particular class are a interesting bunch.

Thanks again Ian for the help. I expected it to go down well, but i wasnt expecting such enthusiasm from the classes.

I'm always up for sharing data and I'll keep it confidential. 

For choice of bacteria,  what about going free range?  I raise amoebae using whatever grows on rancid oats just by throwing some into water,  it generates a shedload of bacilli and there might be an advantage to having a mixed culture for the feed. 

As I don't have a shaker I've been trying with a mag stirrer,  about 90rpm seemed to hit the right spot between total disintegration and dropping out of suspension.  I need to have another play but priority at the moment is raising stuff for the show - 1500 samples ready - halfway there! 




Before I forget..........

The class I am bringing to the show have one the samples, actually a couple of them. They are keen to help, no idea how well they will do, I only see this group every 10 days or so. But they are trying to grow to give you a hand.

I intend to drop in early next week, the teacher of the class has said they are extremely keen to help. Sorry if you get swamped!

I need to move the liquid cultures into the main lab. I tried in my office but seem to have mold spores all over the place (very old house). Cultures are fine on agar, but mold seems a real problem. I got a class 2 cabinet thats not used, overkill completely but saves some room :D.

Ditched my original Oats, seems the older ones from the back of the cupboard work better! Main thing we need help with is actually pictures.

I admit to using film cameras, but so far havnt got my Nikon DSLR to see much down the scope! Not my strong point I freely admit.

So any help with micrographs would be great, i would like to avoid a dedicated scope camera if I can.

Totally off topic but anyone into euglena? I asked Blades but the culture I got was not pure.


Ian how long are yours taking to grow? What temperature you raising at? One School has them in the server room, it seems really warm to me. I might need to find a better place, the class teacher wont have them in class!

Hi This image is 4 days growths to fill a standard petri, that's around 20C. I don't control temp so it varies wildly but even in the summer when RT is around 28C they cope fine. In the lab I do shove them in the server room if I think they need speeding up a bit. You can get cheap plastic rigs for attaching phones to microscopes - less than a tenner

cheers Ian


Excellent idea, its working a treat, not bothered sampling yet. But so far excellent bacterial growth and things seems stable, I need to stop reaching for the culture brochure and start thinking again!

Server room is 32C, which apparently is too hot for the server.... Not my problem in any way shape or form!

The petri dish lives in another class when i am not around, seems happy enough at the moment :D


© 2024   Created by Heather Barnett.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service