Today we took the sclerotia out of the incubator. It didn’t look very promising. Most of it had died and looked infected. We cut the small area of ‘normal’ looking sclerotia out and kept in in a petri dish in hopes it would dry out completely and be usable in the future. We also changed the oats in our living culture.
Please see my inquiry partner’s blog entry for more details: http://annicah.inquiryhub.org/2013/03/05/march-4th/
Today we worked on our PowerPoint presentation and pretty much finished it. We also plated petri dishes with nutrient agar and started the sclerotia process again. We are converting all our cultures except for one (the new one we cultured from our maze experiment) into sclerotia. The cultures (2 petri dishes of soon to be sclerotia) are now in the incubator and we will need to take them out about 24 hours from now.
The slime mould finished solving the maze last night at around 7:30 pm. I got a picture of it at 4 pm, then forgot about it until 7:25 pm, when I checked on it and found that it had solved the maze, so I’m not sure exactly when it finished, but it was sometime just before 7:30 – maybe 6:30 or 7:00.
Today we transferred the filter paper from our second sclerotia attempt to an empty petri dish, cutting out sections that had other mould growing on them. We put that culture back into the incubator (along with the others) to let the filter paper dry out. We also changed the oats in the other living cultures.
Leaving the cultures for the weekend seems to have been a good idea. The two that had formed crusty balls in the corners of the petri dishes don’t look any better (worse, if anything – at least one of them is growing another type of mould), but the others have grown and are looking better. The sclerotia we prepared on Friday (that has been in the incubator all weekend) to transfer back to its growing state has turned out well, except for a bit of contamination from some black mould, which we tried to remove this morning. We added oat flakes to most of the cultures and put them in the incubator to warm up and hopefully grow better since the room they are in is very cold today.
After discovering that a couple of our cultures didn’t look like they were doing to well this morning, we decided to put off the maze test until Tuesday. 2 of the cultures appear to have retracted their veins and formed small crusty balls near the edges of the petri dishes. Perhaps the clean-up job we did yesterday was a bit too much for them, but in any case, we want to allow the cultures the weekend to grow and recuperate before putting them into the maze we created.
Today we started the process of reviving some of our sclerotia. We selected a petri dish prepared with non-nutrient agar, sprinkled a few oat flakes on it, added a piece of dried filter paper containing sclerotia, and applied a drop of water to the filter paper. We sealed and labelled the petri dish, then covered it in foil to keep it dark.
The slime mould kit we ordered arrived on Wednesday afternoon, but we are sill awaiting the incubator and other supplies. The mould will be left in the fridge for the weekend, and hopefully on Monday the incubator will arrive and we can start growing the mould. Once the culture is large enough, we hope to subculture it, and that way if one plate dies or becomes contaminated, we’ll still have some to work with. First we’re going to experiment with growing the mould, keeping it alive, sub-culturing it, and transferring it to and from its dormant stage. Then we’re going to try to work out how to set up the maze so we can test how long it takes to get through it.