replica plating


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rep·li·ca plat·ing

a procedure for producing an accurate copy of bacterial colonies from one agar plate to another.

replica plating

a method of transferring COLONIES (3) from a master plate of solidified MEDIUM to test plates, whilst still maintaining the same spatial arrangement of the colonies. Comparison can then easily be made between characteristics of the colonies on the ‘replica’ plates and those of the colonies on the original master plate. In the procedure a pad of, for example, sterile velvet is pressed gently on to the surface of the master plate, so that cells from each colony on the solid medium are picked up on the velvet pile. The velvet pad is then pressed down on to the surface of test plates containing solid medium, so that they are inoculated (see INOCULATION with the cells from the master plate. The method is often used to determine the GROWTH characteristics of MICROORGANISMS, for example in the identification of nutritional MUTANTS (see AUXOTROPH). Here the master plate contains complete medium, where the ‘replica’ plates contain MINIMAL MEDIUM with or without one or more specific growth factors. In this way mutants requiring a specific growth factor can be identified by comparing their growth on the various test plates with that on the master plate.
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The next method shown in Figure I, replica plating, can become very cost-effective in high-volume laboratories because it allows testing of a number of organisms in a single operation.