Question re: storing bacteria sample

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Question re: storing bacteria sample

Post by datao » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:30 pm

I did some work on an air conditioning cooling tower which apparently had no water treatment. It was a nasty environment with all sorts of growth of who-knows-what. This was at a government building where the manager was adamant about not getting the water tested (for those unfamiliar with this equipment, I believe these are the conditions that make Legionairs Disease possible). I'm sure I won't suffer any health problems from this, and I'm no hypochondriac. But just in case I have symptoms I kept a plastic airtight food container with scrapings of the crusty oozing life forms in this tower. I figure maybe if I keep this sample it will help get treatment on the off chance I get sick.
My question to you all is, what is the best way to store this sample without destroying its analytical value? Can I freeze it, then later have it looked at to determine what hideous stuff was living in it?

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Question re: storing bacteria sample

Post by wbla3335 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:01 am

Bacteria can be stored indefinitely (depending on temperature) in glycerol. Biology-online has many resources, one of which is

You may not have access to the equipment and materials mentioned in that link, but if you can get some glycerol from your local pharmacy (don't worry about the lack of sterility - if your sample contains nasties, they will still be there even if contaminants are there also), put your scrapings into an airtight container, add some glycerol, and freeze it until you can have it checked.

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Post by JackBean » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:44 pm

So you took some grown stuff and put it into plastic bag? And when do you want to have it identified?

Cis or trans? That's what matters.

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