July 21, 2013 · 2:00 PM
They might not look like much now, but the microbes in your local pond water are colorful scene-setters waiting to happen. In this classic Winogradsky Column microbio experiment, microbes in mud form beautiful layered communities, due to oxygen and nutrient gradients in the column. Adding different food sources like egg shells and paper can also contribute to graded flourishing/perishing. This is a fun way to find out about microbes and soil health while making some cool window art as well. We also plan to use microorganisms from the columns for other upcoming microbiology meetups: identifying different bacterial species, building microbial fuel cells, and so on.
Bring your own imaginative column: anything from 2L plastic soda bottles to tall decorative glass jars will do. A lid/stopper of some sort may be useful for transport. We'll have a few extra for anyone that forgets and will have all other supplies (including some nice rich stinky mud) on hand.
6 CO2 + 6 H20 = C6H12O6 + 6 O2 (plant photosynthesis)
6 CO2 + 6 H2S = C6H12O6 + 6 S (bacterial anoxygenic photosynthesis)
Wanna make yours extra special? Feel free to bring your own sand, nails, shells or other materials! Here are some tips on getting good colors.
NCSU Winogradsky Columns