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Hello fellow resident Aliens!
Although this comes quite late, we’d like to thank you all again for attending our workshop at 33C3. We never expected so many people to show up, and it was great fun thanks to you all!! We will definitely do this again one time, but date and location are not set. Nevertheless, have a look out, we're looking forward to see you (again)
As promised for so long now, please see below an instruction on how to keep your bacteria alive (even though they do not glow any longer, or better to say – presumably not glow any longer – they are still alive!). Here’s the protocols for solid and liquid media to keep your micropets alive and happy:
Let’s start with the liquid medium. You will need (for 1 litre, if you want to cook less, please adjust accordingly):
- 20 g of LB medium (“Luria Bertani broth” you can get this online, e.g. on Amazon)
- If you’re up to hack or reverse engineer this, it contains 10.0g Tryptone, 5.0 g Yeast and 5.0 g Sodium Chloride per liter)
- 30.0 – 35.0 g sea salt
- It seems the bacteria glow brighter in a concentration of 32% salt, do your own gradient to see what suits them best in your specific environment.
- I tested a variety of salts and the Atlantic sea salt turned out to be the best – it contains some minerals along with the sodium chloride, that the bacteria need, as they derive from the sea.
- 1.0 liter of distilled water (you can get this from your local drug store).
- Jars / bottles / flasks
Mix the ingredients and stir until at least the LB powder is completely solved. A word of caution here – this is VERY fine powder. Make sure you do not shake the bottle and do not inhale the dust. It will cause you to cough like hell.
Once all this is well mixed, you will need to sterilize it (“autoclave”. Autoclaving means you sterilize your stuff at 121 deg Celsius, at a pressure of 2 bar for 15 – 20 minutes). The best way is to use an autoclave, or if you cannot get hold of one, mom’s (or your own) pressure cooker for it. Whatever jar, bottle or flask you are using in this cooker, make sure you do not close the lids of the jars/bottles/flasks completely, as otherwise you are at risk that the material may burst during autoclaving. Adjust your pressure cooker as per the specifics and instructions and let everything cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
You can also use this method for anything else you want to sterilize. Needless to say, that the material will need to be designed to withhold the pressure and temperature…. (been there, done that, adjusted the pressure cooker to too high a temperature and got a sculpture of molten petri dishes, that in no universe ever imaginable would have been classified as art …).
With that being said, once your DIY or professional autoclave is ready, take out the jars, close them completely and let the medium cool down. Once it’s cooled down, put it in the fridge. You can usually keep it for 2 – 3 weeks.
Now, if you want to inoculate a new starting culture of your bacteria, take your infusion wire and pour the liquid inside in your freshly prepared and cooled medium. If you took a petri dish, take a needle (we showed how to prepare during the workshop) and gently stroke through the bacteria. A film will attach to the needle, which you can then shake off in the medium. We suggest to use app. 200 ml. Put it into the fridge and you should see a glow starting after 24 – 48 hours.
Now, for a solid medium, take the same ingredients as above and add 15.0 of Agar Agar per litre. You can get the agar from well assorted supermarkets (look in the section for baking ingredients).
For the solid medium you will also need something to pour the medium into, Ideally something with a lid (and of course whatever you take, it will need to be sterile as well). The standard thing to use are petri dishes, which you can order online. These usually are already sterilized. However, be creative and make sure to send some pictures of your ideas
The process for autoclaving is the same. Make sure you pour your medium into the target container while it is still warm, but no longer boiling hot. Close the lid and let it sit until it’s cooled down and solid.
Then either take your wire and pour a portion on your medium. Shake it a bit or use a drigalski spatula or again a needle to distribute the bacteria. close the lid again and put it in the fridge. Here as well you should see it glowing after 24 – 48 hours.
Although the bacteria are not dangerous and are not likely to survive in “our” environment, it is good practice to autoclave them before you dispose of them. And of course, as already emphasized during our workshop, do not drink or eat them
If you have further questions, feel free to ping us at email@example.com
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