Friday, 29 July 2011

Growth of Fungi: Time Lapse Video

Though not all Aspergillus fungi, this excellent video shows clearly the many growth phases of filamentous fungi on laboratory media going from initial growth to sporulation (0:53). Then the culture becomes infected by insects for a while (3:23) and ultimately the fungus dies.
Shot by someone we only know as 'Nick' it is also worth listening to the accompanying music!

We can get some idea of the level of specialised equipment needed for this work by looking at his setup below
We can see the round  white Petri dish containing the growing fungus at the centre of the picture with what looks like a device to allow the camera to rotate around the dish to which the camera is clamped, or perhaps the dish rotates in front of a stationary camera.

One point worth making, and if you are reading this Nick please take note, if that is Aspergillus fumigatus on that plate (amongst other fungi) you should be thinking about being very careful breathing the air around that apparatus especially if the plate is usually uncovered. Growing such a concentrated collection of fungi leaves you at a high risk of breathing in large numbers of spores which are very easily dislodged when touching the plate, moving the plate or with any disturbance of the air. Needless to say disposing of the plate should be done asceptically. Aspergillus fumigatus is a very dangerous pathogen if you or anyone else in the area are in any way susceptible to infection, we don't yet understand how to tell if someone is susceptible when they are immunocompetent so you will not know if you are in danger.

A good idea would be to enclose the plate in a cabinet which would take the air away from your face (that doesn't look practical here) or to wear a good HEPA grade facemask, prefereably one that includes cover for your eyes too but at the very least one of those described here!

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