Word of the Day – Wednesday, January 26th

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AGAR (AY-gahr)

A gelatinous material derived from algae.

Common clues: Ice cream thickener; Lab gel; Petri dish gel; Seaweed extract; Culture medium; Emulsifying agent; Food thickener

Crossword puzzle frequency: 7 times a year

Frequency in English language: 42862 / 86800

Video: Heart Cells Beat in Petri Dish

Agar is a galactose polymer (or Agarose) obtained from the cell walls of some species of red algae or seaweeds (Sphaerococcus euchema) and species of Gelidium, chiefly from eastern Asia and California. Also known as Kanten, Agar-Agar, or Agal-Agal (Ceylon Agar).

Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose; it is a component of the algae's cell walls. Dissolved in hot water and cooled, agar becomes gelatinous; its chief use is as a culture medium for microbiological work. Other uses are as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute — a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying agent in brewing, and for sizing fabrics.

Uses in microbiology

Nutrient agar is used throughout the world as a medium for the growth of bacteria and fungi, but not viruses.

An agar plate with microorganisms isolated from a deep-water sponge.

The basic agar formula can be used to grow almost all microbes; however, other more specific nutrient agars are available. For example, blood agar, which is generally combined with horse blood, can be used to detect the presence of haemophoragic micro-organisms such as E.coli O:157 H:7. The bacteria digest the blood, turning the plate clear.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Agar".  

AGAR (409) 53 Tu+ >1 03 Culture medium

27 We- >1 09 Ice cream thickener

25 We- >1 04 Seaweed product

24 Tu+ >1 01 Lab gel

21 We+ >1 08 Food thickener ATOM SAGO

15 We >1 09 Thickening agent

14 Mo >1 95 Culture base

9 We >1 07 Petri dish gel

9 We+ >1 06 Petri dish gelatin

8 Tu >1 08 Lab medium AUAR

8 We >1 99 Seaweed extract

7 We+ >1 98 Petri dish stuff

7 We >1 03 Seaweed substance

6 Th+ LAT 05 Pastry thickener

6 Tu >1 05 Petri dish filler

5 We >1 09 Gelatin substitute

5 Th >1 06 Petri dish contents

5 Th+ >1 02 Seaweed derivative

00 Bacterial culture base

4 Th+ NYT 01 Chinese gelatin

4 Tu >1 91 Gelling agent

4 We >1 09 Lab culture

4 Fr- >1 06 Petri dish layer

4 Tu- >1 05 Petri dish medium

3 Th- NYT 09 Biology lab supply

2 Tu- >1 08 Queen of Mount Olympus