By Ernest Ekunseitan
Phage Hunting this semester has been a roller coaster. It’s had its ups, downs, and everything in between. The most tedious part of phage hunting to this point was the constant streaking. By streaking, I don’t mean running through lab naked, but rather using sterile sticks to spread out the phages on agar plate (aka the less fun streaking).
Before we could start streaking, we had to go through the process of first direct plating (which yielded no plaques), enriching our samples, and then dilution where we finally caught our first glimpses of plaques. We could now begin our process of streaking.
Streaking is actually a fairly simple process. You begin with a sterile stick and touch this stick to a nicely separated and distinct plaque. You then use this stick to draw a horizontal line on the plate. You grab a new stick and draw a short vertical line down the center of the horizontal line. The last step is to grab another sterile stick and draw a “squiggly” line back and forth for towards the bottom. The entire process is simply meant to spread out the phage from an area of high concentration to low concentration in order to get distinct and separated plaques.
We needed to streak until we obtained one plaque morphology and then streak 3 more times to prove that we only had one morphology. After proving that I only had one morphology, I was then able to go on to create my web plate, MTL, and HTL ( the real fun stuff). All that said Phage Hunting has definitely been my most interesting class this semester, much more fun than Intro Chem Lab, and I’m anxious to see how my phage turns out.