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Is there an easy way to make agar plates from our local kelp? I want to do a science experiment where I use agar plate to let bacteria grow on and I thought I could make these plates myself.
Question Date: 2003-10-29
Answer 1:

Unfortunately there is not an easy way to extract the compound you need (sodium alginate) from kelp. It is a rather complex procedure. But, that doesn't mean you can't make agar plates on your own.

You can buy agar at most health food stores (it is also called agar-agar) and you can make the plates with soup broth. The trickiest part is sterilizing the plates, which requires a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers can be dangerous and would definitely require that you work with an adult.

Good luck on your project!

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