Exploring the Microbiome… of my Hands and Feet!

Plates with cultured bacteria from my hands and feet!
Plate 1: left hand; Plate 2: right hand
Plate 3: right foot; Plate 4: left foot
(Note: control plate not shown)

As a class, we examined the microbiome of the human body. Our experiment focused on our hands and feet, and we wondered how similar or different their microbiomes would be.

The procedure was simple: acquire a new cotton swab, streak a plate before use as a negative control, then swab ourselves and streak a different plate. Repeat for a total of four times, then allow the cultures to develop over a few days.

After those few days, I was excited to observe some differences (including quantity and diversity of colonies) in what was growing, and we discussed and analyzed our findings as a whole. Upon conclusion, we were instructed to dispose of the plates.

Thing is, I forgot to do that. Three weeks later, I finally did. But not before being amazed at what I saw and deciding to study some of those interesting colonies with my FoldScope!

I took samples from three colonies: the upper-left dark colony in Plate 1 (left hand), the red colony in Plate 2 (right hand), and the largest dark brown colony in Plate 3 (right foot). I added tiny bits of them to separate wells (from my FoldScope kit) filled with distilled water, stirred thoroughly, and transferred them to glass slides with pipettes. Then, I viewed the slides through my FoldScope, and here’s what I saw:

The view from the FoldScope!
From 0:00 – Plate 1
From 0:19 – Plate 2
From 0:26 – Plate 3

I had a great time working with the FoldScope today. Thanks for stopping by :))


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