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Science Technology

Plasma-Filled Bags Could Replace the Petri Dish 43

Posted by samzenpus
from the disposable-lab dept.
Zothecula writes "The humble Petri dish may soon be a thing of the past. A team of researchers in Germany have developed a new technique for treating plastic bags with plasma to turn them into sealed, sterile containers suitable for microbiology work with much less chance of contamination than traditional containers. This holds the promise of not only decreasing the possibility of contamination in stem cell and live-cell therapy techniques, but also the potential for cultivating whole human organs for transplant surgery."
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Plasma-Filled Bags Could Replace the Petri Dish

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  • plasma or plasma (Score:5, Informative)

    by smoothnorman (1670542) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:21AM (#38049120)
    Perhaps someone else wondered (given that this is an article about microbiology) if the "plasmas" in the summary is of the 'blood plasma' sort or rather the ionized gas sort. You may save yourself a click: it's the latter; and its function is mostly to sterilize to sample space. Now as to the ease of subsequent sterile access to the bag, versus a dish with a lid, i leave that to the imagination of the gloved and harried lab tech.

    (http://www.etymonline.com/ plasma 1712, "form, shape" (earlier plasm, 1620), from L.L. plasma, from Gk. plasma "something molded or created," from plassein "to mold," originally "to spread thin," from PIE *plath-yein, from base *pele- "flat, to spread" (see plane (1)). Sense of "liquid part of blood" is from 1845; that of "ionized gas" is 1928)

  • Re:Lucky breaks (Score:5, Informative)

    by rnaiguy (1304181) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:34AM (#38049270)
    Your belief is incorrect.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:plasma or plasma (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trubadidudei (1404187) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:47AM (#38049414)

    Wrong. The gasses sterilize the bags AND allow cells to adhere to the sides of the bag.

  • by TheClockworkSoul (1635769) on Monday November 14, 2011 @11:53AM (#38049468) Homepage

    This seems more like marketing hyperbole than anything else. They're just sterile bags (though the pictures of the plasma sterilization are kind of cool). You don't need plasma to sterile a bag: if we really wanted to use bags for tissue culture, we would have had them 30 years ago.

    As a graduate student in the field, I can tell you that the humble petri dish has FAR too may uses, and is far too easy to use, to ever be replaced by something as awkward as a bag for pretty much anything. I suppose that the bags could perhaps be used for some function that's currently being served by the (also enclosed and sterile) flasks [wikipedia.org] that we usually use for tissue culture tissue culture [wikipedia.org], but bags are harder to stack in an incubator, where space can often be in short supply.

    Whiz-bang hyperbole aside, plasma-sterilized bags will probably find a niche use in which it would be handy to culture in a container that can be easily cut away, tissue engineering comes to mind, but to assert that petri dishes are going the way of the dodo is patently absurd.

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