We don’t often work with pure cultures in microbial ecology. Bacteria in the environment don’t exist in isolation, and may not behave the same way in the lab as they do in the wild. Researchers are beginning to investigate using bacterial co-cultures – multiple strains growing together – to discover new antibiotics and to increase the efficiency of biofuel production, for example.
However, pure cultures can still be very useful! Here’s a strain of Bacillus subtilis that I’m using as a positive control to make sure my techniques are working.