Auxanography is the art of identifying which minimal media different bacteria can grow on. Many bacteria require amino acid supplements to grow on minimal media, and some bacteria require combinations of supplements. By using auxanography, we can narrow down the potential growth requirements for the bacteria. Note that this is not inclusive, and some strains require very complex media (such as those that require blood added to the plates … usually to overcome an iron dependency). However, this is a generally good starting point to figure out which amino acid supplements a strain could need.

Start by making pools of supplements separately and then combine them into eleven different pools. Spread one per minimal plate, and then streak your bacteria on it. (You should consult a good handbook to figure out the appropriate supplement concentrations and conditions.)

Pool number 1 2 3 4 5
6 Ade Gua Cys Met Thi
7 His Leu Ile Lys Val
8 Phe Tyr Trp Thr Pro PABA DHBA
9 Gln Asn Ura Asp Arg
10 Thy Ser Glu DAP Gly
11 Pyridoxine, nicotinic acid, biotin, pantothenate, Ala



  1. Some pur mutants grow on adenosine or guanosine and these mutants will grow on pools 1, 2 and 6.
  2. Some pur mutants grow on adenosine and thiamine and they will grow on pool 6.
  3. pyrA mutants require uracil and arginine and will grow on pool 9.
  4. Mutants requiring isoleucine and valine (ilv mutants) grow on pool 7.
  5. Pool 8 also contains para-amino benzoic acid and dihydroxybenzoic acid. Mutants that grow on this pool are blocked in the early production of aromtics.
  6. Mutants that block the lysine pathway require diaminopimelic acid (DAP) and only grow on pool 4.
  7. Many thi mutants only require a very small amount of thiamine, and if you inoculate pool 5 and 6 and then continue (e.g. using a frogger or replicator) they may acquire sufficient thiamine.
  8. Some mutants require either cysteine or methionine and wll grow on pools 3, 4, or 6.
  9. Mutants with abberations in the TCA cycle may not grow on these pools.