C. elegans Cultivation

Life Cycle

The life cycle of the worm is about 3 days.

Feeding

In the lab, Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain OP50 is its favorite food. Watch a worm eat!

Housing

Petri plate (~ 35 * 10 mm) filled with NGM (Nematode Growth Medium) is used to culture the worm.

Covered petri dish with NGM and a lawn of E. coli in the centerCovered petri dish with NGM and a lawn of E. coli in the center
Click for bigger images
Lid half-coveredLid half-covered
Lid openedLid opened

Growing Temperature

C. elegans' growth rate differs under different temperatures. Development from embryo to adult takes about 2.5 days at 25 °C , and 6 days at 15 °C.

Temperature
(°C)
Embryogenesis
(hours)
Molts (hours after hatch)
First eggs laid (hours after hatch)
Larva1 (L1)-L2
L2-L3
L3-L4
L4-adult
16
29
24
39
54.5
74.5
94-97
20
18
15
24
34
46
59-60
25
14
11.5
18.5
26
35.5
45-46
Source: Caenorhabditis elegans: Modern Biological Analysis of an Organism (p.9)

Observation

A binocular dissecting microscope will do. Most work can be done at 25X magnification.

Dissecting microscopeDissecting microscope

Picking & Transferring

To pick and transfer worm for manipulation, a platinum wire is used. An eyelash will also do!

Platinum wire: Click to see scalePlatinum wire: Click to see scale

Sexes

Size of plate (with food)
Number of males
Number of hermaphrodites
9 cm
10 -15
~ 6
5 cm
~ 6
3-4
Source: Caenorhabditis elegans: Modern Biological Analysis of an Organism (p.12)

 

Long-term Storage

C. elegans can be stored indefinitely at very low temperature (-70 ~ 100 °C freezer). In the dauer stage, it can also be kept at 16 °C for months.