MadSci Network: Microbiology

Re: What is the best environment to store E.Coli bacteria?

Area: Microbiology
Posted By: Eric Clambey, MadSci Admin
Date: Mon Oct 20 20:04:51 1997
Area of science: Microbiology
ID: 877311725.Mi
In the laboratory, we usually store E. coli in two ways.  For short term 
storage (a month or less), we simply put E. coli at 4 degrees Celsius (in the 
refrigerator).  This includes E. coli cultures grown both in a broth and on an 
agar plate.  Note that if you have E. coli on an agar plate, it is best to 
seal edges of the agar plate so that it does not dry out over time.  The second 
way we store E. coli is at -80 degrees Celsius.  This storage requires that the 
E. coli be frozen in a special solution containing the chemical glycerol.  I 
don't know the exact length that you can store E. coli at -80, but I seem to 
remember that such stocks can still produce viable E. coli _at least_ a year 
later.  For most purposes, however, short term storage is easy and sufficient.  
Just be careful not to store the bacteria in a place where you also store food 
and beverages!  We have special refrigerators used only for bacteria, so that 
you never risk contaminating food with your E. coli.  Good luck!  


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