Agar Shortage Limits Lab Supplies

One large provider says the shortfall should clear up by early 2016.

By Kerry Grens | November 24, 2015

WIKIPEDIA, EMOODY26A global shortage of certain seaweed is causing agar laboratory supplies to go on backorder. ThermoFisher Scientific told The Scientist in a statement that it is “prioritizing limited inventories of agars LP11 and LP13, due to evolving market conditions and are confident that we can address this temporary supply issue.”

Agar, produced from red algae, is commonly used as a medium to grow bacteria. Scientists have expressed their concerns about the supply—sometimes in mock horror—online. Last week, Adam Roberts warned microbiologists on Twitter of the shortage with an image of a letter from ThermoFisher explaining the suspension of agar orders. “Better start hording!” responded David Guymer. Stefanie Vogt wrote: “Doomsday scenario for a microbiology lab: a global agar shortage!”

ThermoFisher said it is looking for other sources of seaweed and it expects to have the supply of agar resolved in early 2016.

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Avatar of: I-adore-pasteur


Posts: 6

January 19, 2016

I am profundly sorry I published this late night draft, which I just removed.

Two short questions instead of any shallow advice:

Does any one among us know with precision why agar was chosen as a general standard?

I sometimes obtained comparable or even better results with a mix of diluted sterilized seawater and blended cooked white beans. (I tried hundreds of alternatives before that)

Beans contain "good" proteins, and it is easy to obtain organic beans.

Second Question:

Has any one of you also published nonsense due to overwork?

When I worked for a national research ministry in the eighties, I submitted a simple plan for inspiring recovery resorts, designed to meet the special needs of tired & mentally empty scientist.

Now that I begin to feel old age frquently, I like this idea again. Maybe we could put our imagination together to design a really nice resort, with all services, and features you really dream of. It could be financed by rich managers in search of place like this as well.

I have just bred a cheese, which tastes like heaven. And it sure did not "eat" agar!

Take Care Cornelius

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