Winogradsky's column

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Winogradsky's column

typically a glass column allowing growth of MICROORGANISMS, by simulating conditions found in a nutrient-rich lake. The column is prepared by packing a large glass cylinder to about a third full with organic-rich mud, preferably containing sulphide. The mud is covered with lake or pond water and the column covered with an aluminium foil cap. The cylinder is incubated in subdued sunlight for several weeks. A mixture of organisms develops, with AEROBES/MICROAEROPHILES, including ALGAE and CYANOBACTERIA, in the upper regions of the water, purple non-sulphur bacteria (see PURPLE BACTERIA at the mud-water interface and ANAEROBES, including purple and green sulphur bacteria, in the zones with hydrogen sulphide. By spiking with a specific compound, the column can be used to study degradation and to select for organisms capable of degrading that compound.The column was named after the Russian microbiologist, Sergei Winogradsky, who designed it to study soil microorganisms.