wpeD.jpg (134969 bytes)

Inverted view of plasmodium of Physarum to show vein development on Water Agar

(Image from MycoaAlbum CD by George Barron see www.mycographics.com)

Physarum polycephalum grows well in culture. Place a piece of plasmodium on a petri dish of water agar and incubate at room temperature. The plasmodium will wander over the surface of the agar in veins. The protoplasm flows to and fro inside the veins to maintain communication within the thallus. Inspect veins directly under the low power of a compound microscope to observe shuttle streaming.  Slime moulds have the highest known rate of flow (1.3 mm sec). In the water weed, Elodea, commonly used to demonstrate cytoplasmic streaming the rate is about 6 microns per sec.

The slime mould can be grown in a plastic box lined with wet paper towels and fed flakes of oatmeal soaked in water. Keep it in the dark! It can be stored for many years by drying down slowly on a paper towel until it forms a yellowish crust. Cut the paper towel into cm squares with each square having a portion of the 'crust' and store in vials in the fridge for later use. Restart by placing paper squares on water agar at room temperature.