Winogradsky column lab page!

Welcome to the Winogradsky column lab page! Students from the Departments of Biological Applications and Technology, University of Ioannina and Icthyology and Aquatic Environment, University of Thessaly, Greece and the Microbiology course, Faculty of Sciences, University of Cádiz, Spain, discuss their findings on Winogradsky columns they constructed!

If you want to add a post, please feel free to contact the blog administrators (Hera Karayanni, Sokratis Papaspyrou or Kostas Kormas)!

Καλωσορίσατε στη σελίδα των Winobloggers! Διαδικτυακός τόπος συνάντησης φοιτητών, φοιτητριών και διδασκόντων δύο Τμημάτων από την Ελλάδα: Tμήμα Βιολογικών Εφαρμογών και Τεχνολογιών, Παν/μιο Ιωαννίνων και Τμήμα Γεωπονίας, Ιχθυολογίας και Υδάτινου Περιβάλλοντος, Παν/μιο Θεσσαλίας και ενός από την Ισπανία: Σχολή Θετικών Επιστημών, Πανεπιστήμιο του Cadiz. Παρακολουθούμε, σχολιάζουμε, ρωτάμε, απαντάμε σχετικά με τα πειράματά μας, τις στήλες Winogradsky!

Bienvenidos a la pagina web de los Winobloggers! Aquí los estudiantes y profesores de dos departamentos griegos, el Departamento de Aplicaciones y Tecnologías Biológicas de la Universidad de Ioannina y el Departmento de Agricultura, Ictiología y Sistemas Acuáticos de la Universidad de Thessalia, junto con los estudiantes de Microbiología de la Facultad de Ciencias en la Universidad de Cádiz, se reúnen para observar, comentar, preguntar y responder a preguntas relacionadas con nuestro experimento, la columna Winogradsky.

Winogradksy columns

Winogradksy columns
'In the field of observation, chance only favors the prepared mind' Pasteur 1854

Blog posts

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Winogradsky Columns

Acidic column (column A) and column with an alternative source of sulfur (column B)

Team; Cheiladakis Emmanouel, Grizi Olga,Varoucha Effrosyni  

Sampling was carried out at Koronisia, Amvrakikos Bay (Greece) on 20/10/2017. Three columns were made; one as the control, one with low pH (pH=3), and the last one containing an alternative source of sulfur (rice). The nutrients used are presented below:

Control column
Column Α
Column Β
Egg (sulfur source)
25 g
Newspaper (Carbon source)
1 g
1 g
1 g
1/3 of the bottle
1/3 of the bottle
1/3 of the bottle
Mud with added nutrients
1/3 of the bottle
1/3 of the bottle
1/3 of the bottle
Lagoon Water (pH=8.5)
350 ml
350 ml
350 ml
Lemon Juice (pH=3)
100 ml
Rice (sulfur source)
150 g

.The rest of the bottle stayed empty, in order for aerobic bacteria to grow             

After the sampling process, the columns were placed in an accessible by light spot, at room temperature. The duration of the experiment was approximately 3 months. Through this period the columns were compared by the appearance of colour layers.

Pic.1; Typical colour zones due to bacterial growth in a Control Winogradsky column.
  1. In column A, pH value was stabilized at 3, where fermentation is not expected to occur in the lower layers as the fermentation bacteria (e.g Clostridium) cannot survive. As a result there is no carbon acids (which are produced by Clostridium) for sulfate-reducing bacteria to grow. This prevents or reduces the appearance of the upper layers. Also, due to the acidic environment, neither cyanobacteria will grow. In this case, no colour pattern is expected.
  1. The same amount of sulfur was added in column B, using rice as a source, and if bacteria use it in the same way, we do not expect significant differences in the colour pattern between the control and the column B. 

  • Pic.2; Hypothesis A- What is expected to happen in the acidic column
A.Hypothesis accepted; there was no zone observation because acidic pH prevented the growth of the expected micro-organisms.

B.Hypothesis rejected; there was also no zone observation, so it was proven that bacteria don’t use the sulfur from the rice in the same way they use it from the egg.

It needs to be clarified, though, that there is a possibility low pH or rice as a sulfur source just delayed the growth process and not completely prevents it. So in order to be absolutely sure of the result, observation for a longer period is essential.

Phases of the experiment
ü   In every photo column B is at left,control column is in the middle and column A is at right.

Pic.3; Winogradsky columns- Day 1

Pic. 4; Winogradsky columns- After 2 months

Pic.5; Winogradsky Columns- Final Phase


  1. Nice and original presentation! Any estimation on rice sulfur content compare to egg? Approx pH value at the end of the experiment?

    1. Thank you! We found that 100g boiled egg contain 180mg S, while 100g boiled rice contain 30mg S. So eggs have six times more sulfur content than rice. For this reason, the control and acidic columns were enriched with 25g boiled egg each, while column B was enriched with 150g boiled rice.
      The pH value was 5 after two months, and the last week finally reached up to 7.

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