Meet the organisms

Our project requires that we have a large quantity of each of our organisms: dermatophytes and C. elegans.

Trichophyton equinum

Dermatophytes are molds, and when growing as molds they are in multicellular filaments called hyphae. This results in a fuzzy appearance as shown on this plate, or perhaps you have also seen it on mold growing on bread that’s been around for a while. I prefer to work with dermatophyte conidia, the resting bodies they produce that are only one cell. Having single cells means we can be more quantitative (we know exactly how many conidia we add to an experiment).

Dermatophytes growing in their happy home.

To grow conidia, we plate dermatophytes on rather large plates of specialized media. In the image, they are in the incubator, next to normal plates. They will grow for about 2 weeks, then we will harvest the conidia, count them, and confirm their quality (they should be able to grow and they should be the only organism present).

The other organism we work with, C. elegans, actually eat bacteria instead of a growth medium. Last week we made small plates of medium and spotted E. coli onto the plates. We let the E. coli grow a little, then added the C. elegans. Our worms are greatly enjoying their bacterial snack and we have had plenty for our pilot experiments. As you can see from the picture, we made quite a few plates!

A “few” plates. All of them have E. coli already seeded. These will last a while!

A single plate (pen is for size). The spot in the middle is E. coli, which the nematodes will eat.

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