I have been spending a lot of time at work lately watching bacteria grow. That's right. The more education you have, the simpler it gets.
This is my growth curve from today. Those of you who do science may be impressed. That's one fine looking growth curve. The strains I'm growing are ones I made (The Mutants) and the growth curve is for an experiment I'm planning to do where it's very important to get them all growing in a predictable way.The OD600 (y-axis) is the cell density, which represents how many bacteria there are. As you can see, they grow fast at first and then slow down. These are specific stages of growth that are common to all bacteria (log phase, or 'fast' growth, then stationary phase or 'slow' growth). The Mutants are behaving themselves very well, especially now that I've figured out all the little tricks - don't pressure them, give them lots of love, and let them do their thing. The first time I did this I actually screwed it up just from checking them too many times.
I have never thought so long and hard about bacterial growth as I am this month. It is not easy getting them to grow just right. They are easily affected by temperature changes, oxygen levels, psychic energy, luck, and what color socks you have on.
Hopefully soon I will be finished with the growth analysis and can move on to the next big thing... microarrays!