Dessert containers again

Bryo cultures have to be watered and that can be tricky! I tend to water mine by spraying them or by pouring on distilled water. This can cause problems when a culture is started from small material such as individual gemmae, bulbils, or tubers, which can easily be displaced. Also, these small diaspores can easily get covered with compost and disappear for good. I thought that it would be nice to water cultures indirectly, and this is why I have come up with a new setup using yoghurt tubs. When culturing larger material, vented takeaway boxes are fine, as described here.

All started with this yoghurt shown below. The company tells you that the tub is fully recyclable. But of course “recyclable” does not mean that it is always recycled, once put in the bin. It seems that in the UK (and in other places) much recycling is actually incinerated. Better to do the recycling myself…

A “collective gourmet live yoghurt” tub. Great for growing bryophytes, and the original content tastes very well, too! It does not usually make me drool as the label seems to suggest, though.

For cultivation, the tubs are used upside down and two tubs are needed to start with. As before, I have used a hot glue gun, but cold glue should work as well. Finally, some mesh is useful to cover up the vents. Once the tubs are cleaned and the labels peeled off (they come off nicely), one of the tubs is cut into plastic rings.

To mark where to cut, it is useful to hold a pen in a fixed position and to rotate the tub, thereby drawing a perfect circle…
I prepared rings of perhaps 2 cm width. Look at my perfect circles! I then made a cut perpendicular to the rings.
You end up with open rings, which can be glued to custom sizes.

Once you have rings, a hot glue gun comes in handy.

First, a ring is glued so that its diameter is smaller than the lid.
Then, glue is added to the inside of a lid and the ring is stuck on.
You can tell that I have eaten quite a bit of yoghurt.

The tub itself serves as a lid for the culture. I have added vents and covered them with mesh to avoid wildlife getting in.

A sharp knife helps to make vents. I added two rectangular ones on the sides of each tub.
Mesh is cut into strips to cover the vents.
And here is the final product!

The nice thing about the plastic ring glued into the lid is that water can pass through under the ring. This allows me to water cultures by pouring water into the lid, outside of the ring. The water then soaks into the compost (or other substrate) without shifting around small diaspores.

The yoghurt tub setup is great for cultures stared from small diaspores like the next generation of Marchantia polymorpha.

I have also created similar culture containers from deli tubs (from Morrisons). These have the advantage that their bottoms are flat. The yoghurt lids have a rim, which is lower than the substrate level, causing excess water to sit around (as seen above). This does not happen with the deli tubs, but then they are quite small. It seems that there is no perfect solution.

An alternative to yoghurt tubs – flat bottom deli tubs. Plastic ring added as above and one vent added to lid.

I’ve posted quite bit about cultivation now. Next thing, I may write about genetic diversity and Marchantia polymorpha.

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