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Nematode Growth Media (NGM) Plates

Adapted from: Ian A. Hope (editor). C. elegans: A Practical Approach.  Oxford University Press, New York, New York, 1999.

Reagents (for 1L):


  1. Start by adding about half of the DI water to an Erlenmeyer flask.
  2. Stir the water while adding the NaCl and Peptone first. Add both slowly to avoid clumping.
  3. Once both are dissolved completely, add the remaining volume of water and the agar to the solution. Keep the solution mixing the entire time.
  4. Cover the top of the flask with foil and autoclave the solution for 30-60 minutes using a liquid cycle. Do not take the stir bar out; it will be used later while pouring plates.
  5. Once autoclaving is complete, cool the solution to 56-58 °C with constant stirring. There are 2 ways of doing this:
    1. Place the flask in a 56°C water bath and let sit for an hour, or
    2. Perform a "Quick Water Immersion Cooling (QWIC)." NOTE: This technique works well at quickly cooling the solution uniformly and is utilized in our lab. It is not "scientifically proper," but it works well. Consult your professor first to see if this technique is appropriate for your lab.
  6. Keep the top covered with foil in order to maintain sterility. (Figure 1).
  7. Add the remaining reagents to the solution. Make sure to practice sterile technique with each addition. Open the top and add the reagent; do not completely remove the foil. (Figure 2) Immediately recap the top with foil once each addition is complete. (Figure 3)
    • 0.5 ml cholesterol
    • 1 ml uracil
    • 1 ml CaCl2
    • 1 ml MgSo4
    • 25 ml KP buffer
  8. Pour 10 ml of the solution into 60x15mm plates.  The plates should sit overnight, allowing them to harden.  1 liter of solution should pour between 90-100 plates.
  9. Once dry, the NGM plates should be stored at 20°C.


Figure 1.

Keep the flask covered after removing from the autoclave.

back to procedure


Figure 2.

Remove cap only when adding reagents.

back to procedure


Figure 3.

Re-cover with foil after each reagent has been added.

back to procedure


Sudhir Nayak, Ph.D.

Biology Building 126
2000 Pennington Rd.
Ewing, NJ 08628
P) 609-771-2659


Dr. Nayak’s Lab
Biology Building 236
P) 609-771-3436