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  • Writer's pictureEnid Gonzalez-Orta

How Many Replications by Casey C.

Casey working in the lab on step 2 of chemical extractions.

Throughout the eight weeks I’ve been conducting work as a Tiny Earth scientist, I’ve developed a greater understanding and appreciation of the workload that goes into conducting studies for the development of new antimicrobial compounds, and other lab work in general.

The image to the left is a media plate of my own of which I’ve patched bacteria from a soil sample and specifically chose to cultivate only the bacteria that were shown to create an antimicrobial compound to this single plate alone is the culmination of six weeks of testing and experimentation with even more tests to be done with it in the future. Aside from this, another lesson taught to me while working as a Tiny Earth scientist is that even though there is plenty of physical lab work to be done, this is only but a fraction of the work to be done.

Prior to conducting any Tiny Earth-associated work, I was solely concerned about my own technique when it came to running experiments, but after eight weeks of experimentation, I’ve come to realize that as much work goes into doing the lab work, you can expect to spend doubly the amount of time in preparation to do it, and that is a good thing since regardless of how fast you conduct your work, making a mistake can jeopardize everything up to that point so it’s best to have a clear work-flow charted out prior to getting it done. Regardless though, issues are bound to occur and while it may be frustrating to deal with, we must be able to recuperate from these moments. The final thing that my time as a Tiny Earth scientist has taught me is that mistakes are bound to happen and that we simply must work through them.

The image to the right is another plate of mine in which I wanted to cultivate some interesting-looking bacterial colonies from my original soil sample this plate was infested with the bacteria Bacillus mycoides, a microbe everyone in the lab is woefully familiar with. As interesting as it may seem, B.mycoides is to be avoided at all costs, and it took me three different attempts over a weeks’ time to cultivate a plate that was not infested with B.mycoides, to which this was the first time in my college career in which I’ve been met with failure multiple times, something that I simply had to work through until finally, I succeeded.


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