If you get really curious to learn more about the bacteria making these
natural colors in the water, there are simple ways to collect them in the
field and study them at home or in a lab. If you want to tell others about
what you found, make some notes. To do this, take some field notes that
include the date and location of each sample (mark this on your topographic
map) and a short description of the environs, label the sample containers
or slides, and think about the bacteria's environment before beginning to
"Pet bacteria" collection on a kitchen windowsill.
Watch for changes over time. The left-center vials have red iron flocculates.
Manganese is present in the left vials, and, after several weeks, the manganese-oxidizing
bacteria (Leptothrix discophora) formed rings around the vials. Acid-tolerant
bacteria in the right-center vials precipitated yellow flocs. Sulfur bacteria
smell like rotten eggs, so the vials are placed in a plastic bag (right).
"How To Collect Slimy Flocculates"
Contact: Norrie Robbins
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