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I would like to measure the surface density of Staphylococcus bacteria and Rhinoviruses (only those two, to be specific) within my home. What's the cheapest way?

The textbook procedure is to:

  • rub a clean wet cotton swab on the surface in a controlled way
  • dip the swab into a clean agar (or some living media to detect viruses?) dish
  • incubate the dish
  • "look for genetic patterns from special enzyme reactions".

Is it possible to do the last step at home? Or, is there some easier way if I only care about Staphylococcus bacteria or Rhinoviruses?

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What sort of budget do you have in mind? A quick Google using the search terms "Staphylococcus home test kit" returns many kits, the top hit costs $64. There are bound to be other kits that can detect other pathogens. –  Luke Aug 30 '12 at 11:45
    
Maybe $500 for 100 samples. That $64 basically gets you a swab and envelope for one sample, so it sounds expensive (and doesn't include Rhinovirus). –  bobuhito Aug 30 '12 at 18:33
    
Use care if you incubate at home - some bacteria in small quantity are low risk however, if you happen to incubate a contagin to colony size it could be dangerous indeed. I saw this first hand with a fellow student who had recently recovered from a pneumonia bout - we had MASSIVE quantities of those and went straight to the lab steralization phase upon discovery. –  Mark Schultheiss Sep 4 '12 at 18:58
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