Winogradsky ColumnCompiled by Sarah Bordenstein, Marine Biological Laboratory
The Winogradsky Column is an excellent activity, specifically for grades 5 - 12, to demonstrate the growth of microorganisms. As a result of this activity, students will:
- learn about the metabolic diversity of prokaryotes, applying terms such as phototroph, chemotroph, autotroph, andheterotroph.
- observe the cycling of mineral elements in natural environments, particularly sulfur.
- discover how microbes occupy a highly specific niche depending on environmental tolerance and energy requirements.
Schematic view of a typical Winogradsky Column. Image credit: Jim Deacon, University of Edinburgh
- Building a Winogradsky Column Video Demonstration. This five-minute Quick Time video demonstrates how to build a Winogradsky Column. The video is published by NASA Quest and can be used as a teaching supplement to... (more info)
- Building a Winogradsky Column: An Educator Guide with Activities in Astrobiology. This 27-page educator guide is a NASA Quest resource about Microbial Ecology and related Astrobiology activities. Students will construct a Winogradsky Column to observe... (more info)
- Soil, Desertification, and Farm Bills; Windogradsky Column Hotlist . This is an Internet hotlist on the Windogradsky column. Published by a high school teacher, it includes links to soil profiles, soil taxonomy, and Winogradsky Columns. ( This site may be offline. )
- The Microbial World: Winogradsky Column- Perpetual Life in a Tube. This Winogradsky column web page is designed to teach undergraduate students a simple model system of nutrient cycling in natural waters. It includes a physical... (more info)
- The Winogradsky Column: An Animated Tutorial. This five-minute animated tutorial describes Winogradsky columns. The tutorial shows how to create a Winogradsky Column, describes the various layers and types of microbes... (more info)
- Winogradsky Columns. This is an exercise about Winogradsky Columns with emphasis placed on the formation and properties of microbial biofilms. It includes background reference... (more info)
For more information about Winogradsky Columns, search the Microbial Life collection.