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I am looking to grow E.Coli (In a nutrient agar dish) to be used in an E.Coli lawn and was wondering what specific nutrients should be used to ensure the E.Coli grows optimally? Any answers or links to relative resources are greatly appreciated!

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any reasons to not use standard LB agar plates? $\endgroup$ – Chris Aug 11 '16 at 12:42
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please consider taking the tour. You might also want to add some more information to your question showing what research you've already done yourself. Specifically regarding your question, it's not my area but I suspect this will help: exptec.com/Bacterial%20E.coli%20Growth%20Media.htm $\endgroup$ – arboviral Aug 11 '16 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ If you don't have any specific reason to use something else, LB is your best bet. It's cheap and it works well. $\endgroup$ – Mad Scientist Aug 11 '16 at 21:10
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Optimal is a funny thing; it depends upon what you want. The purpose of the bacteria, is probably the most important aspect when considering the nutrients. There are many recipes capable of growing E. coli. What does optimal or best mean to you and why? Is selectivity or differentiation a factor? How important is cost? Are you aiming for industrial level production or just testing. Do you have a bioreactor? Or are you looking for something low tech... maybe from food-mart?

For what it's worth, you might find minimal salts media and solid state fermentation interesting.

Different strains like different nutrients, of course. So, phenotypical tests are sometimes helpful when figuring what an undescribed strain likes (and doesn't like).

That being said... I can offer a little insight here.

"+" for growth/utilization; "-" for weak or no growth/utilization:

                 E. coli    E. coli inactive**  E. coli 0157:H7

Pectin                 -            -                   -   
Dextrin                ++           ++                  -
Sucrose                -            -                   +++
Glycerol               +++          +++                 +++
Stachyose              -            -                   - 
D-Fructose             ++           ++                  ++
D-Maltose              +            ++                  ++
D-Raffinose            +            -                   +++
α-D-Glucose            +            +                   +
α-D-Lactose            +            -                   ++
D-Trehalose            ++           +++                 +++
D-Galactose            ++           +++                 +++
L-Fucose               +++          +++                 +++
L-Rhamnose             +++          -                   ++
D-Sorbitol             +++          +                   -
D-Mannitol             +            ++                  ++
Methyl Pyruvate        +++          +++                 +++ 
Tween 40               -            -                   -

Gelatin                -            -                   -
L-Alanine              +++          +++                 +++
L-Arginine             +            -                   -
L-Histidine            -            -                   -
D-Serine               +++          +++                 -
L-Serine               +++          +++                 +++
D-Aspartic Acid        -            -                   -
L-Aspartic Acid        +++          +++                 +++

D-Glucoronic Acid      +++          +++                 +++

Citric Acid            -            -                   -
L-Malic Acid           +++          +++                 +++
Acetic Acid            +++          +++                 +++
Acetoacetic Acid       +            +                   -
L-Lactic Acid          +            -                   -
Mucic Acid             ++           -                   +++
D-Malic Acid           +            +++                 +++
Propionic Acid         ++           ++                  +++
Formic Acid            +            -                   +

D-Salicin              -            -                   -
Lithium Cloride        +++          ++                  ++
Na Butyrate            +++          +++                 +++
pH 5                   +++          +++                 +++
8% NaCl                ++           +                   -
D-Serine (high)        ++           +                   -
Potassium Tellurate    +            +                   +++
Na Bromate            +/-           -                   ++

E. coli inactive** is lactose-negative, non-motile- often misidentified as Shigella

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As suggested by Chris, classical LB medium should be fine. There is a reason why it has been used for the last 65 years. Some people supplement it with extra sucrose or sodium chloride, but I think these are mere customs rather than experimentally-proven improvement.

If you want to re-create LB from pure components, read about minimal media. They are a mixture of glucose, ammonium salts, microelements and vitamins. A rather long list that I won't post here can be found at http://structuralbiology.uchc.edu/protocols/pdfs/nmr_sample_preparation.pdf

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