Agar-Agar; it’s not just for mycologists anymore

Agar-Agar and Petri Dishes go together like bread and butter. The preferred medium of scientists from high school biology labs to professional mycology labs, agar-agar is that jelly-like substance filling those Petri dishes that creates the perfect nutritional space for growing everything from mold and fungi to studying infectious diseases. But does that mean that agar-agar should be regulated to lab work and mycology enthusiasts alone? Certainly not! 

Culinary Uses

Agar-agar is a gelatin-like substance created from red algae. A mix of carbohydrates that have been extracted from the seaweed, it has no flavor, odor, or color making it an ideal cooking ingredient. An excellent vegan substitute for recipes calling for gelatin, agar-agar can be used in desserts, jams, jellies, and as a thickener. It can even be served on its own like an aspic with endless options for flavoring. Because agar-agar sets firmer than gelatin and sets at room temperature, it creates less-jiggly, longer lasting desserts, ideal for summer days.

Packed with nutritional value, agar-agar can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet. With 7.7 grams of fiber, 6.2 grams of protein, 62% of your daily calcium, and 119% of your daily iron per 100 grams, it is easy to see why it is used as a nutritional medium in labs, and why it would add value to your diet. It can be used in making medicines, to aid in digestion and constipation, encourages weight loss and some evidence suggests that it can be beneficial to those with diabetes and children suffering from jaundice.

Rainbow Moon Cakes made with Agar

Agar-Agar in Mycology and Microbiology

Agar plates, or Petri dishes, are used by microbiologists as a growth medium for microorganisms. Often combined with other nutrients or nutritional mediums like malt extract, potato extract, or dextrose, agar-agar’s nutritional value can be increased. To create the ideal growing environment for studying bacteria and fungi many scientists add nutrients to it. Depending on your needs and planned usage you may want to choose to purchase your growing medium premixed in powder form or to mix your medium yourself. Either way, plenty of options are available and a multitude of recipes available online.

Think you might be interested in adding agar-agar to your diet? Curious about how many uses it has? Ready to start your own mycology lab? Find all the supplies you need here in our shop. Whether you are looking for Bacteriological Grade Agar, Potato Dextrose Agar, Malt Extract Agar or just your standard Agar-Agar for your kitchen, Myco Supply is an excellent source for agar and for any other laboratory needs.

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