How to create a sterile nutrient agar

Written by ryan maxwell
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Making your own petri dishes can save you a lot of money. The sterile nutrient agar used with homemade petri dishes can be made using materials you can find in your local grocery store. Homemade petri dishes are a great way to show your children the importance of good hygiene and proper hand-washing. The recipe and steps listed in this tutorial will show you how to make enough sterile nutrient agar to make 25 to 30 plates.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 4 envelopes of plain unflavored gelatin
  • 4 cups of cold water
  • 8 teaspoons of sugar
  • 4 teaspoons of beef bouillon granules or 4 bouillon cubes
  • Measuring spoons
  • Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Disposable petri plates
  • Sandwich bags

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  1. 1

    Mix the gelatin, water, sugar and bouillon cubes in a saucepan.

  2. 2

    Increase the heat slowly, stirring the mixture constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.

  3. 3

    Remove the saucepan from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

  4. 4

    Fill the petri dishes with the gelatin mixture until they are approximately one-third to one-half full.

  5. 5

    Place the petri dishes in the refrigerator and allow them to cool until they are solid. Be careful that you do not touch the gelatin.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the petri dishes within 2 to 3 days for best results.
  • If you are unable to get disposable petri dishes, you can substitute them with foil cupcake cups placed in a muffin tin.
  • Store the petri plates or cupcake cups in sandwich bags to reduce the chances of cross-contamination.

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