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Exploring Bacteriophages: Host Specificity and Plaque Morphology Kit (with perishables)

(in stock)


Students will use the double-agar layer technique to plate 2 different bacteriophages, ΦX174 and T2, on 2 different host bacteria. The next day they will count and describe the morphology of the resulting plaques. Students will observe that ΦX174 is only able to infect one of the host bacteria and that the plaques formed by the 2 different phages are very different in size.

This kit contains enough material for the experiment to be performed 1 time by either 1 group of students or 2 groups of students sharing the work. The digital resources that come with this kit include a video demonstrating the double-agar layer technique. The hands-on portion of the lab can be completed in one 50-minute session followed by a 15-minute session the next day. The prelab can be completed in 30 minutes and the analysis and assessment can be completed in 45 minutes.

This kit replaces and extends the Plaque Demonstration Kit B (items #124315 and #124315P).


  • Use knowledge of the bacteriophage lytic life cycle to answer questions about the effect of bacteriophages on the bacterial host and its environment
  • Describe the morphology of plaques caused by different bacteriophages
  • Observe the concept of host specificity and thus be introduced to the importance of host genetics to a pathogen
  • Practice sterile technique and how to perform serial dilutions
  • Discuss the importance of controls
  • Draw conclusions from observed data
  • Demonstrate the understanding that patterns seen in simpler biological systems can help in the understanding of the biological systems of more complex organisms

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

  • Familiarity with sterile technique
  • Basic knowledge of bacteria, DNA, and proteins

Kit ships with perishable materials included. Note: Refrigerate coliphage until use; do not freeze. Keep bacteria culture and agar at room temperature.

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