Aseptic Techniques: Flaming the Loop

  • If the loop has been dipped in culture since it was last flamed, hold it above the Bunsen Burner flame to slowly dry the liquid it contains. This will reduce spattering and the production of aerosols when the loop is sterilized.
  • Hold the loop with the tip in the hottest part of the flame (just above the bright blue cone). Holding the loop at a fairly steep angle will allow you to sterilize more of its length at one time.
  • Allow the loop to cool a few seconds.

Making an Inoculating Loop

  • Cut a piece of XX gauge nichrome wire three to four inches long.
  • Use forceps to bend one end of the wire into a loop about 2-3 mm across. The tip of the wire must close the loop by contacting the wire, but not cross over it. (An open loop will not hold liquid, and a jagged, protruding end will cut holes in agar.)
  • Insert the loop into the loop handle.

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