Agar, Petri Dishes, and Bacteria

Agar, Petri Dishes, and Bacteria

Agar plates and petri dishes for growing bacteria.

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Learn how to use different types of agar to culture bacteria samples in Petri dishes. Plus, experiment with antibiotics and antibacterial agents & see how to grow bacteria.

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If you’re wondering “What is agar?” and “How do I use a petri dish?”, you’re at the right place. Pick a complete kit or read free project ideas to help create the perfect bacteria experiment with your kids.

See our Illustrated Bacteria Project Guide for tips and ideas!

Agar is a gelatinous medium that provides nutrients and a stable, controlled environment for bacteria growth. Most bacteria will grow well using nutrient agar, but some more fastidious bacteria prefer tryptic soy agar.

To prepare agar plates, just heat agar and pour it into a sterile petri dish. Swab along any surface to test (your mouth, the bathroom counter, etc.) and then lightly smear in a zig-zag pattern on the surface of the agar plates. Signs of bacteria growth should show within 1-2 weeks.

Getting started:

”We purchased this kit as a fun activity to supplement our regular science program. It came quickly, was high quality, and the kids really enjoyed the experiment.”
                —Customer Review (Bacteria Experiment Kit)