Field of Science

Lab Rat in its Natural Habitat

I'm back in a lab! More excitingly, a different lab. I moved in today, so I've just about been allocated bench space and shown where the autoclave is. Today's tasks included cleaning said bench (I pretty much just doused it with70% ethanol and waited for the ethanol to evaporate, I do not want anything contaminating the bacteria I'll be working with) and mixing up a load of media so that I can put it above my bench where it can sit and look all pretty.

The Lab equivalent of hoovering and putting up the curtains basically. As soon as the autoclave has finished (the autoclave is basically just a big pressure cooker which sterilizes everything) my bench will have:

  • Four durans (large bottles) of Tap Water Media for growing bacteria in
  • Four flat-bottomed flasks of LB media for overlaying plates and growing different bacteria on (used to test if the first bacteria are producing antibiotics)
  • One small pot of 40% glycerol (our bacteria occasionally produce spores, and these are stored in glycerol)
  • Two pots of sterilized toothpicks (for picking out isolated colonies of bacteria)
  • Three empty sterilized flat-bottomed flasks, for as yet undisclosed purposes
  • One empty measuring cylinder with foil over the top
  • Two boxes of pipette tips
And I've just remembered that it should probably have double distilled water as well. Bugger. I will ask my supervisor about that, but water is used quite often and it would probably be helpful to have some around. Although my bench is right next to the MiliQue machine (which occasionally produces noises like a drain with a bad stomach and in some mysterious way ionises the water. Way beyond my MEH unfortunately) so I might be able to get away with it.

These will be placed on the shelf above the Lab bench, apart from the pipette tips which will be on the bench itself, along with my Lab Notebook (yes, it does deserve the capital letter), a biro, a marker pen that is running out of ink (for labelling the bottles), a roll of autoclave tape that probably isn't mine, a little rack for holding eppindorf tubes (ooh, that reminds me, I need to get a rack for the bigger tubes) and a bunsen burner stand that I've yet to move onto someone else's bench.

I'm home =D


Luke said...

Last term my time was split between a Cat I lab and a Cat II lab. The Cat II lab was really state-of-the-art, and for plating out bugs it had special plastic rake things that came in vacuum-sealed packets.

In Cat I there were boxes of toothpicks. When at all possible I'd do my plate-work in Cat II, because every damn time I tried to use the toothpicks I'd gouge out a furrow into the agar.

Lab Rat said...

Little rake things? Awesome. I'm using toothpicks at the moment, although they are quite flat (especially when you pick them up the wrong way) so they don't gouge into the agar, but I have a horrible feeling that I picked up too much bacteria with them.

I'll find out in five days time, when they've grown.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, you mean you're happy to have escaped my phage!!! sob... :(

Hope you're having fun though! xxxnjr

Lab Rat said...

I would much prefer to be back with the phage :) But unfortunately this is the best I can do at the moment. It is preferable to lectures though.