Letter | Published:

The Soil-Plate Method for Isolation of Fungi from Soil

Naturevolume 166pages117118 (1950) | Download Citation



RESEARCH on the ecological distribution of fungi in soil, in progress in this laboratory, has been facilitated by the use of a simple plating technique, whereby soil is distributed throughout a thin layer of nutrient medium. A soil plate is prepared by transferring a small amount of the soil to be examined into a sterilized Petri dish. 8–10 ml. of cooled medium is added and the soil particles dispersed throughout the agar. With sandy soils an adequate dispersal may be obtained by shaking and rotating the plate before the agar solidifies. If, however, the soil is very dry, or contains a high proportion of clay, it is preferable to mix the particles with a drop of sterile water in the plate, before the medium is added. The amount of soil used in the preparation of a soil plate varies with the soil investigated, and is determined by trial. With many natural surface soils about 0.005–0.015 gm. of soil has been found to give a convenient number of colonies on each plate. Czapek–Dox + 0.5 per cent yeast extract agar, acidified with phosphoric acid to pH 4.0, has been found a satisfactory medium for the growth and sporulation of many soil fungi and has been extensively used as an isolation medium. A microspatula made by flattening the end of a nichrome needle has been found useful for transferring soil and crushing soil aggregates.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Waksman, S. A., Science, N.S., 44, 320 (1916).

  2. 2

    Chesters, C. G. C., Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc., 32, 197 (1949).

Download references

Author information


  1. Botany School, Cambridge

    • J. H. WARCUP


  1. Search for J. H. WARCUP in:

About this article

Publication history

Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.