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Bacteria culture-Glass or Plastic Erlenmeyer flasks


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Poll: Glass or Plastic (3 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you prefer glass or plastic Erlenmeyer flasks for bacteria cultures?

  1. Plastic (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Glass (3 votes [100.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 100.00%

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#1 Dr.E

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Posted 12 March 2010 - 12:37 PM

I am in the process of starting a new lab. I will be doing a lot of bacteria cultures in large volumes. I have used glass Glass Erlenmeyer flasks in the past, but I wanted to see if there is a preference for glass or plastic? Anything I should consider beyond the fact that glass can be cleaned and reused? The plastic flask I am looking at is biodegradable after on year in the soil. Has anyone tryed these types of products and if so how did they work? Thanks

#2 bob1

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 03:43 PM

I use glass, but then I don't do a lot of bug cultures - you might get a better response from the microbiology subforum.

#3 gebirgsziege

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Posted 15 March 2010 - 11:55 PM

this might be a silly advice, but if its biodegradable....think of the bacteria you will be culturing, that they do not eat the plastic and you will have some unwanted products in your culture.

And for the prefs: I think it depends on the application, the price and convinience. I think if it is cheaper i would use the plastic; you will have to think of the time needed to clean, sterilise, etc.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#4 pito

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:55 AM

difficult question: if the plastic is 100% biodegreadable then it might be ok, but there is more then the fact that it is biodegreadable: the production proces might be very bad too for the environment.
Glass is a good product since you can reuse it on the other hand: it cost energy to wash and sterilise.
Anyway at the moment I am pro glass.

It is a very interesting topic you start dr.E , too few people think about the impact on the environment when working in a lab, eg: the use of aluminum foil when autoclaving... we tend to reuse this foil a few times before using new one and personally if it was my decision we wouldnt use it at all for wrapping around boxes in order to make them dry faster.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.


#5 Dr.E

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:19 AM

difficult question: if the plastic is 100% biodegreadable then it might be ok, but there is more then the fact that it is biodegreadable: the production proces might be very bad too for the environment.
Glass is a good product since you can reuse it on the other hand: it cost energy to wash and sterilise.
Anyway at the moment I am pro glass.

It is a very interesting topic you start dr.E , too few people think about the impact on the environment when working in a lab, eg: the use of aluminum foil when autoclaving... we tend to reuse this foil a few times before using new one and personally if it was my decision we wouldnt use it at all for wrapping around boxes in order to make them dry faster.


I completely agree that most people do not think about the labs' environmental impact. I am the process of making these choices for a new start up lab. Thanks for the help. Just out curiosity do you also buy bulk tips or eco friendly tips boxes? What about the lab hoods? Some labs still vent directly to the outside air. I understand that the when the calculations are done the amount that is in the air is negligible in most cases, but it still bothers me. Shouldn't we strive for higher standards?
Dr.E

#6 Dr.E

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 04:22 AM

this might be a silly advice, but if its biodegradable....think of the bacteria you will be culturing, that they do not eat the plastic and you will have some unwanted products in your culture.

And for the prefs: I think it depends on the application, the price and convinience. I think if it is cheaper i would use the plastic; you will have to think of the time needed to clean, sterilise, etc.



The plastic I am looking claims to be Biodegradable in within a year after disposal or 70 days under composting conditions. Isn't there still something left and what does it do to the soil?

#7 gebirgsziege

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 09:19 AM

depends on the material the flasks are made of, you should be able to find literature on the degardation products after the composting process.
What I was talking about in my previous post: if you culture your bacteria they are metabollically active and probably produce some toxic or unwanted metabolites from the plastic that can interfere with your subsequent analyses. Whether or not this is important for you depends on the bacteria you will be working with and for what purpose. If you will be culturing ecoli only this should be no problem. But when you plan to work with metabolites or want to assess which C-sources can be utilised by soil bacteria I would make sure that these bacteria are not able to utilise the plastik. Otherwise your results will be nonsens.

Fume hoods: It depends on what you are working with, but for chemicals hazardous to man and environment there are special rules for filters etc.
A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies. (Oscar Wilde)

#8 pito

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 07:39 AM

difficult question: if the plastic is 100% biodegreadable then it might be ok, but there is more then the fact that it is biodegreadable: the production proces might be very bad too for the environment.
Glass is a good product since you can reuse it on the other hand: it cost energy to wash and sterilise.
Anyway at the moment I am pro glass.

It is a very interesting topic you start dr.E , too few people think about the impact on the environment when working in a lab, eg: the use of aluminum foil when autoclaving... we tend to reuse this foil a few times before using new one and personally if it was my decision we wouldnt use it at all for wrapping around boxes in order to make them dry faster.


I completely agree that most people do not think about the labs' environmental impact. I am the process of making these choices for a new start up lab. Thanks for the help. Just out curiosity do you also buy bulk tips or eco friendly tips boxes? What about the lab hoods? Some labs still vent directly to the outside air. I understand that the when the calculations are done the amount that is in the air is negligible in most cases, but it still bothers me. Shouldn't we strive for higher standards?
Dr.E



We buy bulk tips , plastic bags with many tips...

But to be honest if it was for me I would reuse the tips and not trow them away.

Many of the tips (70%) are used to suck up water or other things that are no big problem.
So if I had to decide I would collect all the tubes , put them in the washmachine to clean them and the autoclave them ... in stead of always buying new ones.
there is no difficulty in trowing the tips in a bag or something or in a jar to clean them later on.

The problem is the mentality of the people here: you use it and trow it away...
Those tips arent really ecofriendly in most cases...

And face it: you dont lose money or time since you have to fill the boxes anyway with new tips.. if you do it with old ones .. its the same... The only difference is you have to wash them.. but thats no real problem.
(the autoclaving itself is no extra step since the new tips have to be autoclaved too).

(this is still being done in some, poor, countries....)

About the lab hoods: there is a filter installed here (in the chemical fume hoods), however we do not work with very "bad" substances and in the other hoods there is no filter or anything installed.


In a perfect world a lab would be eco friendly and its possible and it might cost more when starting, but I am 100% sure you can win money in the long run when simple adjustments. However for this to work you need people, workers in the lab that also strive to help.

If you have a lab with certain protocols to be followed in order to be eco friendly and some people dont follow them....

A stupid example: there is a school near the lab and there are bags to trow you waste in and bags to trow plastic bottles and cans in... seperated garbage... however a great majority of the students doenst even bother to trow the garbage in the correct bag....

Its all a mentality problem.

If you don't know it, then ask it! Better to ask and look foolish to some than not ask and stay stupid.





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