What happens to your swab when it arrives at Adam's lab?

When the swab you have sent us arrives in the laboratory, we test them for any bacteria or fungi that are producing potential antibiotics. 

For us to do this, we need to culture the bacteria and fungi present on your swab using Petri dishes containing sterile nutrient agar jelly. We streak the swab over the surface of the nutrient agar jelly (a fancy way of saying we drag the swab over the surface of the agar) and culture any bacteria or fungi, that is present on your swab, for a few days.

Once we have good growth of bacteria and fungi (similar the that seen in the image left) we choose individual colonies of all the different types bacteria and fungi that have grown from your swab, and culture these in a liquid broth (so in the absence of agar jelly). 

Different types of bacteria and fungi can look very different from each other when grown in the lab, for example they can have different colours due to the production of certain pigments, produce colonies of different shapes and morphologies, and because of this we make sure to test a good diversity of bacteria and fungi from your swab!


All this work is done in a sterile manner, to avoid contamination from bacteria and fungi in the air and on our skin.After a couple of days growing to high numbers in the liquid broth, we test your bacteria and fungi against other bacteria and yeast which we know are resistant to antibiotics.  Any of your organisms that can kill these, are stored by Adam for his research into new antibiotics.