We recommend disposable plastic petri dishes for general culturing. These 90 mm non-reusable dishes are pre-sterilized in packages of 20. Glass petri dishes can be heat sterilized and are reusable.
Agar is the medium that is used to grow bacteria cultures. Order nutrient agar for general culturing. Our sterile, 125 ml bottle of nutrient agar is easy to use. Just warm it until it melts and fill your petri dishes. One bottle fills about 10 dishes.
Once the dishes are prepared with solidified agar, use a sterile cotton swab or inoculating needle (heat-sterilized and allowed to cool) and take a bacteria sample (One way is to swab the inside of your cheek). Very gently rub the swab over the agar in a few strokes and replace the lid to the dish. Allow the dish to sit in a warm, preferably damp area for 2-3 days. It's a good idea to record the growth each day with a drawing and written description
To dispose of a bacteria culture, add 1 tablespoon household bleach, recover the dish, and seal in a plastic bag.
Ideas for experiments with agar and petri dishes can be found in our Bacteria Experiments Science Project.