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I am currently attempting to culture physarum polycephalum directly onto 3D printed surfaces without the application of agar. I have had luck previously creating cultures on agar coated surfaces, but I can achieve a higher resolution without the coat and have spoken with researchers who have claimed to accomplish this.
Environment: enclosure is kept at 70% humidity, 72 degrees, and contains a HEPA air filter for circulation and decontamination. Light is low, it's in a basement and the enclosure is walled off.
Growth surfaces: 4"x4" tiles 3D printed on a Formlabs Form 2 with white resin, decontaminated according to biocompatibility protocols used for bacterial growth (two cycles in 90% isopropyl alcohol, full drying, UV curing). The surfaces are sterilized with 70% enthanol and allowed to dry before colonized oats are added onto the surface with sterilized tweezers.
Biology: Species is physarum polycephalum, food targets are unclaved raw oats. I maintain a mother culture on an agar surface and have had luck transferring to other agar plates as well as paper towels, but not to plastic.
Blooming: The HEPA filter puts off a faint blue light. I have largely obscured it, but one of the cultures I was growing on paper towels began to bud after two days. I have heard that this happens in response to UV light exposure. Any advice on preventing this behavior would also be appreciated.
I was advised to leave a layer of water below the printed surfaces to improve the humidity levels in my enclosure. I seeded new growth today and am hoping this helps.
Additionally, if anybody has experience taking photos of physarum growth over time, I would appreciate the help.
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I apply dry rolled oats straight out of the bag (not even organic) and add water, on a flake by flake basis a couple of drops per oat. In bulk I don't normally bother weighing anything, I've been applying oats by the handful - literally; watering with a houseplant watering can ( Big Bang Fair) but it's around 1:2 oats to water.
Physarum feeds off bacteria and fungi it's amazingly containment tolerant - it will grow around mucor and aspergillus and simply move away from invaders it doesn't like. If you need something 'slow release' microwave a 1:3 oats to water mix until it steams, roll out and and add slime - it's good for around seven days.
Thank you so much! It seems like I wasn't seeding enough onto the print. I will try with more colonized oats tonight and see if that helps. It's good to know that I don't need the HEPA filter in there as well. Do you boil your oats or use dry food?
There's no need for sterility with physarum - the hepa and substrate sterilisation are unnecessary. I've used pla printed mazes before, slime will crawl on it but seems to quickly abandon it when something with a bit of moisture is available. A textured surface on the print might work better as it'll hold a film of water. To transfer it just apply a decent sized blob of colonised oats - a teaspoon to a tablespoon full, that way you have a good load of biomass ob your model.
The only way to avoid sporulation is to exclude light - no way around that one but filming them is simple - just use a flash, it's not on long enough to trigger spores. A shot every five or ten minutes is ideal and I've filmed for weeks like that
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