Winogradsky Column

Compiled 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.
Building a Winogradsky Column is both inexpensive and effective, offering students a memorable hands-on experience. To incorporate it into your classroom, you should allow about 3 months to see observable growth patterns. The resources below will help you get started. Have fun in the mud!

Online Resources

Winogradsky Column

More Information

For more information about Winogradsky Columns, search the Microbial Life collection.

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