C-Fern Growth Pod

C-Fern Culture is now even easier using the C-Fern Growth Pod
Culturing C-Fern for teaching and independent student research projects is easier, more reliable, cheaper, and faster using this small growth chamber.

Reduced space requirements and increased portability, along with the many advantages and features of C-Fern for the classroom, make this a sure bet for engaging and keeping students’ interests. The C-Fern Growth Pod can replace or complement the standard Culture Dome that is recommended in the C-Fern Manual. In situations where the optimum culture temperature of 28 °C is difficult or impossible to attain using the standard Culture Dome, the C-Fern Growth Pod can dramatically decrease culture time, increase yield and produce more consistent results. With the Growth Pod it is possible to obtain sexually mature gametophytes in as little as 9 days!

Construction Details
The C-Fern Growth Pod makes use of insulated vinyl “6-pack Coolers” that are readily available commercially and used frequently for student lunch boxes. When fitted with an interior box (cardboard) lined with aluminum foil and covered with a fitted lid of ¼” clear acrylic, the Pod can be filled with 6 stacks of 5 Petri dishes (60 X 15 mm); enough for a class of 30 or more. A simple lighting fixture consisting of a 6” dome and a switch (small clamp or utility lights work well) and a 15 W screw-in fluorescent bulb is all that is needed. The newer screw-in fluorescent bulbs are long-lasting, highly efficient and feel only warm to the touch, even when left on continuously. The light can be rested upon small blocks (e.g., Legos ) on top of the acrylic lid or suspended over the top of the lid. The height should be adjusted to achieve a 28–30 °C interior temperature. Small, inexpensive digital thermometers are handy to keep track of the temperature. Thermometers that have an ‘outside’ temperature probe on the end of a thin wire are especially useful to monitor two pods at one time.

The Pod provides a bright, humid, and warm environment for rapid gametophyte and young sporophyte development. Because of the stacking arrangement of Petri dishes, cultures on the bottom may be developmentally slightly behind those on the top. Reversing the order of the stacks after 6-7 days can minimize this. However, the slight variation in gametophyte size that results from the stacking can actually be beneficial for observations and use, especially in a classroom situation. For transport, local or long distance, the top of the Pod can be zipped closed to reduce temperature and humidity fluctuations. The light is small and portable and can be plugged in anywhere.

Copyright 1999 Hickok & Warne