By Huaitao Zhang
Me. Why me? Does god hate me? I probably have hit every bump possible on the way. But hey, I AM GETTING THERE!
I’d have to say that one of the highlights of this lab is collecting Sunny (my phage which I got from the Beach). I would expect that digging up soil from the Beach at midnight is quite sketchy, especially in the eyes of campus security. What I didn’t expect was digging for two minutes under a bush and getting caught by security. I could have sworn I saw an eye roll.
Everything was smooth for the first week. I got phages from my first sample, and even more phages from Flowery (my garden enrichment sample).
After my first successful direct plating and first streak of my cute phage which I call Sunny (because I got him from the Beach), everything went horribly wrong. I spent probably a total of six lab sessions trying to obtain the second streak. I tried everything. Normal streaking, T-streaking with the third streak being tightly packed and loosely packed, and diluting. From complete annihilation to contamination, yup you guessed it, I’ve had them all. Even after diluting it to the 10-4, Sunny still ate up the entire plate of smeg. It was way too powerful. Thus, I made the decision of setting Sunny aside for future use.
But thank goodness for Flowery (my garden enrichment sample), I was saved. See, Flowery came through for me, despite being quite naughty at times, and after a month I had finally successfully streaked three rounds.
Now came my titer assay. I was praying for a miracle; actually not even a miracle, just smooth sailing. But guess what? None came. So I had to do my titer assay three times. I have to say, repeatedly poking a plaque with a wooden stick, diluting it from 100 to 10-4, and plating them is quite a monotonous process. Practice makes perfect. Right?…right…First time failed because of horrible contamination, second time failed because of multiple types of plaques (I wonder how that happened?), and third time was the charm.
So I flooded my sample and waited for 40 minutes, filtered it with a syringe and I finally have my MTL! I just hope that my plating of the dilutions of MTL turns out well.