In microbiology, we often hear "we use Petri dishes to prepare our cultural media".

Which is correct — "Petri dishes" or "Petri plates"?


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Typically you'll hear either "petri dishes" or "plates", not usually "petri plates". Either way though people will understand what you're talking about.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I tried growing bacteria on paper plates once because the protocol just said plates. $\endgroup$ – user137 Nov 19 '15 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 That'll get you every time. Just leave some leftover food on the plate and it should grow just fine $\endgroup$ – Angelmass Nov 19 '15 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ @user137 lol. Seriously ? $\endgroup$ – Dexter Nov 19 '15 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Dexter No not seriously, but it's generally a good idea to be as specific as you can in your methods section. You can say plates, but be sure to list size, material, manufacturer, etc. In the rest of the paper you can just say plates, but the reader needs to be able to look up how you did the procedure, and sometimes details about plates matter. $\endgroup$ – user137 Nov 20 '15 at 1:21

In my experience, a "Petri dish" or a "dish" refers to something like this:

Petri dish

From Wikimedia

i.e., a single-well container, made of either glass or, more commonly nowadays, plastic.

On the other hand, a "plate" (I've never heard the term "Petri plate" before) typically refers to a multi-well container, having anywhere from 6 to 1536 individual wells:


From pipette.com

Disclaimer: I work almost exclusively in the eukaryotic/mammalian world, so there may be different nomenclature among bacteriologists.


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