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Exercise 2:

Simulating the environment with a


Winogradsky Column

Group 3
Draheim, Kristella M.
Estrella, Brian Nicole
Garcia, Kristine Micah Luisa
Guillermo, Linette
4BIO3

Introduction
The Winogradsky column is a
self-contained ecosystem wherein a
gradient is formed as a result of the
complex interaction of microbes
with their environment.

Figure 1. Portrait of Sergei


Winogradsky (1856-1953)
Source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Winogr
adsky

Introduction
Aerobic (oxygen rich) zone
1. photosynthetic cyanobacteria and algae
2. sulfur-oxidizing bacteria - Beggiatoa and
Thiobacillus
3. Purple non-sulfur bacteria
Anaerobic zone
1. sulfate-reducing bacteria such as
Desulfovibrio
2. anoxic phototrophs- purple sulfur
bacteria and green sulfur bacteria
3. fermentative heterotrophs such as
Clostridium
Bottom - H2S interacts with metals forming metal
sulfides

Figure 2. Winogradsky column gradient


source: https://web.viu.ca/mhernand/
mydiagrams/winogradsky_column.htm

Results
Table 1. Observation with cover on

Observations

Odors
Color of the soil

Condensation on
plastic cover

Crust forming in
the bottle
Film on the
surface of the
water

Week 0

none
Grayishbrown

None

Week 1

foul
black

minimal

None

None

Clumps of
eggs

none

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Strong pond
water smell Pungent odor
Green, pink
and gray
gray to black Gray to black Gray to black
pond water
smell

Pond water
smell

Water evident
on the cover
( plastic )
( very moist )

Many

minimal

many

Visible "green
matter " on
the surface Lesser green Green matter White and
on the edge green clumps
clumps
( might be
algae )
White black
White clumps
White and
and green
with green
Surface has
black clumps
clumps
matter
clumps

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Color of the soil


Condensation on plastic
cover
Crust forming in the
bottle

Week 0

Week 1

Week 2

rotten egg odor

sewage odor

sewage odor

Light gray

Mixture of light gray


and brown

Colorless, very moist

Colorless, fewer than


previous week

Green crust

Green crust; thicker


than previous week

Light gray

None
None

Film on the surface of


the water

None

Macroscopic organisms

None

Black, red, and white


White lumps and black
film with a few
film
bubbles
molds

molds

Results

Picture by Garcia (2016)

Week 0
Ssmo - 150mL
Hclmo - 500mL

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Color of the soil


Condensation on plastic
cover
Crust forming in the
bottle

Week 0

Week 1

Week 2

rotten egg odor

sewage odor

sewage odor

Light gray

Mixture of light gray


and brown

Colorless, very moist

Colorless, fewer than


previous week

Green crust

Green crust; thicker


than previous week

Light gray

None
None

Film on the surface of


the water

None

Macroscopic organisms

None

Black, red, and white


White lumps and black
film with a few
film
bubbles
molds

molds

Results
Week 1

a. Color of the soil

b. Crust and film


forming

Pictures and video taken by Garcia (2016)

c. Condensation on
plastic cover

d. Microorganisms
(aerobic)

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Color of the soil


Condensation on
plastic cover
Crust forming in the
bottle
Film on the surface of
the water
Macroscopic
organisms

Week 0

Week 1

Week 2

rotten egg odor

sewage odor

sewage odor

Light gray

Mixture of light gray


and brown

Colorless, very moist

Colorless, fewer than


previous week

Green crust

Green crust; thicker


than previous week

Light gray

None
None

None
None

Black, red, and white


White lumps and black
film with a few
film
bubbles
molds

molds

Results
Week 2

a. Color of the soil

b. Crust and film


forming

Pictures and videos taken by Garcia (2016)

c. Condensation on
plastic cover

d. Microorganisms
(aerobic)

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Intense stench
Mixture of light gray
and red

Faint stench

Sewage odor

Red

Mixture of red and


black

Color of the soil


Condensation on plastic
cover
Crust forming in the
bottle

Film on the surface of


the water
Macroscopic organisms

Colorless, fewer than


previous weeks
Green and white
crusts

Fewer than previous Same amount as Week


week; colorless
4
Fewer than previous
week; green and white

Green and white


crusts

Black, red, and white


White clumps, red and
film with a few bubbles Thinner than previous green film; spread
week and covers the
over the surface of
surface partly only;
water, and thicker
white
than previous week
molds

none

Molds

Results
Week 3

a. Color of the soil

b. Crust and film


forming

Pictures and videos taken by Garcia (2016)

c. Condensation on
plastic cover

d. Microorganisms
(aerobic)

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Intense stench
Mixture of light gray
and red

Faint stench

Sewage odor

red

Mixture of red and


black

Color of the soil


Condensation on plastic
cover
Crust forming in the
bottle

Film on the surface of


the water
Macroscopic organisms

Colorless, fewer than


previous weeks
Green and white
crusts

Fewer than previous Same amount as Week


week; colorless
4
Fewer than previous
week; green and white

Green and white


crusts

Black, red, and white


White clumps, red and
film with a few bubbles Thinner than previous green film; spread
week and covers the
over the surface of
surface partly only;
water, and thicker
white
than previous week
molds

none

Molds

Results
Week 4

a. Color of the soil

b. Crust and film


forming

Pictures and videos taken by Garcia (2016)

c. Condensation on
plastic cover

d. Microorganisms
(aerobic)

Results
Table 2. Observation with cover off
Observations
Odors

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Intense stench
Mixture of light gray
and red

Faint stench

Sewage odor

red

Mixture of red and


black

Color of the soil


Condensation on plastic
cover
Crust forming in the
bottle

Film on the surface of


the water
Macroscopic organisms

Colorless, fewer than


previous weeks
Green and white
crusts

Fewer than previous Same amount as Week


week; colorless
4
Fewer than previous
week; green and white

Green and white


crusts

Black, red, and white


White clumps, red and
film with a few bubbles Thinner than previous green film; spread
week and covers the
over the surface of
surface partly only;
water, and thicker
white
than previous week
molds

none

Molds

Results
Week 5

a. Color of the soil

b. Crust and film


forming

Pictures and videos taken by Garcia (2016)

c. Condensation on
plastic cover

d. Microorganisms
(aerobic)

Results
The colors green, white and red/brown were observed
corresponding to the proliferation of eukaryal algae, cyanobacteria,
or thiobacilli, and sulfur oxidizing bacteria in the aerobic zone.
Oxygenic photosynthesis and respiration is also evident in the
areobic zone.
As for the anaerobic zone, the color red was observed suggesting the
presence of purple sulfur bacteria, an anoxic phototroph. Black color
was also observed at the bottom of the column indicating metal
sulfides corresponding to the presence of H2S produced by sulfate
reducers.
Gas, in the form of bubbles, in the anaerobic zone can be CH 4 from
methanogensis.

Conclusion
In the experiment, the Winogradsky column
demonstrated metabolic activities of diverse
microorganisms in response to different
environmental conditions. The column was
exposed to sunlight without cover for 6 weeks,
giving way to proliferation of microorganisms in
distinct zones where the environmental
conditions favor their specific activities.