Monday, May 11, 2009

For The DIYBIO Lab

As seen in picture #10 I found an old cooler out in my neighbour hood during garbage day. I hope to use the cooler and the aquarium heater to build an incubator for my cultures (bacterial or yeast and hopefully one day tissue). I picked up the heater and the pressure cooker from a second hand store for less than $10.00. The pressure cooker will be used to sterilize my culture media, water, etc. I will use an oven too sterilize my glassware and bleach for my plasticware. I found agar agar for my cultures and electrophoresis from an Indian grocery store. The microscope glass slide box is made from a cardboard box that is slightly wider than the slides. The slides are then separated on the sides by the perforated cardboard (some cookie bags have ribbed paper that can be sized and used to separate the slides) ripped apart and glued to the sides. This box cost me nothing to build.

You can also see on the side I found a new kit to play with. The DNA Wizard, I think adding this with the CSI DNA Laboratory I an do some DIYBIO (Do It Yourself Biology). Something I am very interested in (I should talk more about the CSI kit on a later date). The DNA Wizard has a few good things in it IE. build your own model of DNA, chromosome typing, DNA extraction and bacterial growth. It supplies you with many things to use including the bacteria. I bought it for $10.00 so it was not to bad, but at it's regular cost of $40.00 that is a bit too much. Most of what is in the kit can be picked up at home and at toy stores, except the bacteria. And that can be found in nature. A good book for doing DIYBIO is "Biotechnology Projects For Young Scientists" by Kenneth Rainis and George Nassis 1998. I have this on my library list.

I think it might be time to discuss some of the different books and links that I have found and use. Hopefully I can write about some of these in the next couple of posts.


Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of the incubator - could you explain a little more about its construction and temperature control? As a teacher in an urban school with very limited resources, I think it would excellent to build this and some of the other equipment you describe (and we do not have) with my students. Too often my students feel that science is out of reach because of expensive lab equipment and materials done in labs they have never seen.

Thank you.

Lawrence said...

Hi Mr. Swan. Yes I created this blog when I found such a poor selection of science materials. I wanted science to be accessible to all. Actually the experience of creating your own lab is very valuable.

As you stated most believe that science can only be done by the well educated and in expensive labs. I believe that we need more people doing science and it can start at home and in the schools. If you like you can link this blog to your blog and maybe more teachers and students will find it.

By the way how did you find this blog?

As for the incubator, I intend to Bring the heater cable through a small hole in the back and seal the hole with silicon. I will attempt to heat the incubator by first submerging this heater in a glass tray of water. And see if it will work this way. I am not sure if you can damage the heater if you run it in the air instead of water.

I want to add 1 or 2 racks above the heater, I am not sure of the material yet. I must be able to periodically clean it with alcohol or a bleach solution.

I will keep the blog up-to-date on this, plus additional equipment I have built. So stay tuned for more.