When I began to study microbiology some 30 years ago we used to use a lot of reusable glassware. For example, Glass Petri Dishes, Universal Bottles, Bijous, McCartney Bottles, Pasteur Pipettes, Glass pipettes and Glass Spreaders. We also used to use metal loops for sub-culturing and again these could be sterilised and then reused by passing then through the flame of a Bunsen Burner. Today, much of the above has been replaced by plastic consumables, which are used just once before disposal, and thus microbiology has become a very wasteful scientific practice. Moreover, microbiology is not alone here, and many other biological sciences use vast amounts of disposable plastic laboratory ware.
As a challenge to this wasteful practice and to bring it to light as a problem in terms of sustainability, I’ve developed the CocoDish, a sustainable, reusable and entirely natural vessel for culturing bacteria based on the Coconut. As proof of utility here is a CocoDish containing Kitchen Bioluminescent Agar (KBA) and a culture of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum HB (in light and in the dark). No need for plastic! Could also be used in locations where plastic Petri dishes are difficult to source.
Empty CocoDishes below
Below, a CocoDish with a culture of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum HB. imaged in the dark (left) and in light (right).