Culturing the critters on an 8-year-old's hand

Tasha Sturm, a lab tech, sampled her 8 year old son's hand when he came in from playing outside in an agar medium, then cultured the microbes that came off in the dish.

She's posted detailed tech notes on her process, and closeups of the most interesting critters that are symbiotic with her son and his microbiome.

Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA) can be purchased through a number of companies (Fisher Scientific, Hardy Diagnostics, Neogen). Most sell it in the powdered form, add water, autoclave, cool to about 55 degrees then pour into the plate, cover with the lid then let solidify. Once the plates are cool then place the hand on the plate making sure to gently pressing the fingers/palm to make contact with the agar. Cover the plate with the lid and place in a 37 degree C incubator for 24-48 hrs......incubate agar side up. This will grow the normal flora on the hand like Staph., Micrococcus, etc. Take the plate out and let it incubate/set out with the lid on at room temp (22 degrees C) for several days (3+ days). Normal flora will continue to grow (slowly) and yeast/fungi will start to grow....usually colored colonies (red/pink/yellow). It will also help bacteria like Serratia turn red. Once grown the plate should be treated as a Biohaz and disposed of properly. The plate should not be opened if mold/fungi is present without proper respiratory protection. Hope this helps.

Hand print [Tasha Sturm/Microbe World]

(via Crazy Abalone)