Agar is a jelly-like substance used to make the medium used in the laboratory to grow cultures of microorganisms. It is usually made from algae with additions which either encourage the growth of certain organisms or prevent the growth of others. The agar is inoculated with a diluent extract from the foodstuff, water or surface swab being tested. The number of colonies which grow is then counted and represents the microbiological load of the sample. Colonies may be taken off one medium and added to another to aid further identification.
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