Slime mold Inquiry

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Naturegirls, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Hi everyone! I go to the Inquiry HUB (PM B.C.). My Inquiry is How long does it take slime mold to solve a simple maze?, but first I'll need to find/acquire some. Any Ideas?
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,352
    Likes Received:
    490
    Location:
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Hrmm, I would guess different species of slime molds move at different rates. This has been in the news lately: Why slime molds can solve mazes better than robots.

    As to where you can locate some -- it isn't the time of year when I typically see them, a bit too cold now. You'd be better off trying to contact a researcher who studies them and has some in culture (look for protistologists).
     
  3. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Thank you very much! Have you ever heard that you need 10+ MTA (not sure what that means) to be able to buy it? Me and my partner read that while researching about it. I'll see if I can find the link.... Thanks again!
     
  4. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    Physarum polycephalum can move about 100mm in about 18 hours when I grow it in my conditions (or less, as I start it at the end of the work day and only look again in the morning). You can buy it from Carolina Biologicals. You will need to guide it with food. This vendor has sterile oats to feed it.
     
  5. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Thanks, that's really helpful! How much do you get in the Physarum Polycephalum? What experiments have you done with Slime Mold?
     
  6. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    I'm not sure what you mean by how much do I get in P. polycephalum. I usually buy a petri dish (plate of the plasmodial stage) on 2% agar. I make a bunch more 2% agar plates, and each student cultures their own. I use it mostly for them to observe, but they experiment with things it will eat, or what might speed up or slow down the cytoplasmic streaming, or try to grow it on other things we have around in the lab or see what it does if they introduce another organism.
    When you start a new culture, just get a small loop full (google microbiology loop if you are not familiar with it) and put it near, but not on the oats. They grow fast, and move around the plate looking for more oats.
    Are you familiar with sterile technique? Be sure to use it, otherwise the cultures are likely to be overrun with fungi.
     
  7. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    We were looking at getting the box; any idea how big that would be? What do you mean Cytoplasmic streaming (I looked it up but still don't really understand it)? We were going to put in a maze and time it. Thanks again!
     
  8. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    What is "the box," Naturegirls?

    If you watch Physarum under a microscope you can see its insides moving first one direction and then the other; that's cytoplasmic streaming.

    Your maze needs have a layer of 2% agar on it so the Physarum can move. Have you planned to do that?
     
  9. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    The box is one of three options you can order. The others are a plate and a petri dish. Hmmm interesting. No we had not planned on using agar, that's very helpful thanks! We were wondering about that!
     
  10. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    There are three options to buy at Carolina. The Physarum culture kit should be sufficient for you. (A plate and a Petri dish are the same thing in this instance). The kit comes with 4 bottles of agar, about 500mL, or about a pint. You might need more or less, depending on what your are making. Please tell me about your maze. What is it made of, how large is it, can it be sterilized? I can get a better idea of what you need if I know.
     
  11. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,040
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    I haven't yet tried this myself, but since we're in a region teeming with slime molds, if you have an extra petri dish you could also try culturing one from the wild. I wish I had direct experience to offer you, but the third hand info is to take a pieces of wet mossy bark home, culture on agar.
    One would expect that if no oats or when oats run out, it will form spore capsules.
    cheers,
    -frog
    p.s. I was curious and looked to see whether there was a Cdn equivalent to Carolina Bio, but it looks like for this kind of product in Canada Carolina sells via Merlan but that other companies don't offer the range of live critters. http://faculty.cbu.ca/dforgeron/biosuppliers.htm
     
  12. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    That was what we had originally planned; we went out and searched in the woods for two hours, but to no avail. Thanks we will order off Merlan!
     
  13. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Our plan is to buy one of those small mazes you can get from a dollar store (made of plastic to answer your question) with a little ball in it, take the cover off, remove the ball, sterilize it (what is the best way to go about doing that?), and then line it with agar.
     
  14. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,040
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    It sounds like a great project: I'm hoping you will post back to this forum with your results!

    The method described to me was to culture from just damp mossy bark, you don't need to be able to see a slime mold with the naked eye. Due to their ubiquitous-ness, and that we can only see them in their motile plasmodial or their sporulating stages, I'm told doing it this way can be successful.

    cheers,
    frog
     
  15. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    I think that type of maze won't work because it is so small that the slime mold will just crawl right over the sides of the maze and go wherever it wants. The walls of the maze would have to be taller to encourage it to stay within the maze path.
     
  16. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    We will keep you updated on any new events! We hope to put in orders for everything we'll need by this Monday and have acquired all the necessary equipment by the time it arrives. Thank-you for the info on cultivating Physarum polycephalum on wet bark!
     
  17. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    We weren't planning on putting a very large culture in the maze, but in the event that it does simply climb over the walls, what would you suggest building a maze out of?
     
  18. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    It arrived!! I put in the fridge for temporary storage until tomorrow when we can review all the procedures again.
     
  19. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Though the incubator hadn't arrived yet, we subcultured the Physarum Polycephalum (under the instruction of our teacher) because it had been doing super well and almost out grew the petri dish. We're going to practice the basic care of it before we move on to the maze (which we haven't obtained yet).
     
  20. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    The walls of your maze need to be higher if you want to keep it on the path in the maze.
    It will crawl out of the path for sure if they are not higher. As you will see, it will grow on the top of the Petri dish and even out of it in a few days.

    You don't need an incubator to grow this if it's Physarum, or most others, for that matter. I have an incubator, but never use it with slime mold. What temperature do you expect to use?
     
  21. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Okay then, what do you suggest? How strange, in the teachers manual and a few other places said to use one to keep the Slime mold (when starting a new culture) at about 22 degrees.
     
  22. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    The Slime Mold is doing great!
     
  23. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    2,040
    Likes Received:
    243
    Location:
    B.C., Canada
    That is wonderful - congratulations!!
     
  24. Naturegirls

    Naturegirls Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Port Moody BC
    Thanks Frog! The incubator arrived today, so on Monday we're going to put a few cultures in dormant stage. Do you have any tips for that?
     
  25. carol222

    carol222 Member

    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    virginia, usa
    I keep replying, but for some reason it doesn't show up later, even when i hit post reply.

    If you don't feed them they will set sclerotia, which look like little black trees. Usually mine get moldy with some contaminant about the time that happens.

    I also (tried) to post that the walls of you maze need to be taller.
     

Share This Page