I'd not set up an experiment where the determination is subjective (looking through a microscope). Design one that determines objectively what constitutes a reasonable response that proves or disproves your hypothesis.
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1. Re: Experiment with bacteria and magnets (Bob)
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 16:00:36 -0800
From: Bob <bbx107.XYZ from excite.XYZ.com>
Subject: [Microbiology] Re: Experiment with bacteria and magnets
To: microbio from net.bio.net
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On Wed, 9 Feb 2011 22:14:55 -0800, Lina Dances <lsc.dancing from gmail.com>
>I am in grade 10 and would like to do a science fair experiment using agar
>dishes and a simple culture from staph epidermidis and have strong magnets
>(north and south) in each side of the petri dish, to see if the bacteria
>chooses to align with the magnets.
>I am unsure if this will show any changes at all, please tell me if this is
>not a good idea, and if there are other ideas to see effects of the magnetic
>fields in cellular life.
Couple of thoughts...
Agar plates vs liquid culture. Showing an effect on agar plates
requires that the bacteria be able to move on the surface; not many
bacteria do that well. Do you have access to a microscope? If so, you
can look at the bacteria in a liquid droplet and see if they orient.
Will they respond? Don't know. That is why one tries it. One
possibility is to compare how they respond to various things --
perhaps a little food, or a toxin. Google on
There are some very interesting bacteria that are known to respond to
magnetic field. Google on
and look around. There is a Wikipedia article, perhaps to start. But
I suspect you can isolate some -- if you have access to some good mud.
Then you could compare with "ordinary" bacteria.
Note that these are bacteria that orient in the magnetic field of the
earth; you don't even need an added magnet. So this is a little
different than your orig idea. Also note that these bacteria take a
little care to grow. They don't like much air -- which is relevant to
Anyway, looking at how people found them might give you some idea on
using the magnets.
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End of Microbio Digest, Vol 68, Issue 4