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Agar

From Academic Kids

Agar is a galactose polymer (or Agarose) obtained from the cell walls of some species of red algae or seaweeds (Sphaerococcus euchema) and species of Gelidium, chiefly from eastern Asia and California. Also known as Kanten, Agar-Agar, or Agal-Agal (Ceylon Agar).

Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose; it is a component of the algae's cell walls. Dissolved in hot water and cooled, agar becomes gelatinous; its chief use is as a culture medium for microbiological work. Other uses are as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute — a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing fabrics.

Uses in microbiology

Main article: Agar plate

Nutrient agar is used throughout the world as a medium for the growth of bacteria and fungi, but not viruses. The basic agar formula can be used to grow almost all microbes; however, other more specific nutrient agars are available. For example, blood agar, which is generally combined with horse blood, can be used to detect the presence of haemophoragic micro-organisms such as E.coli O:157 H:7. The bacteria digest the blood, turning the plate clear.

Agarose is also used in Agarose gel electrophoresis

See also

fr:Agar-agar gl:gar-gar id:Agar ja:寒天 pl:Agar-agar

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