Lima Bean Bacteria DNA Extraction

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This laboratory exercise is designed to show learners how DNA can easily be extracted from lima bean bacteria. This experiment requires the use of a centrifuge (not included in cost of materials). Use this experiment to supplement any unit on genetics and to demonstrate how scientists study DNA. Adult supervision is recommended. This resource guide includes tips and suggestions for instructors as well as other DNA extraction experiments and a chart for learners to answer questions.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
1 to 7 days

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • dry lima beans
  • Palmolive detergent
  • centrifuge
  • distilled water
  • centrifuge tube
  • fresh papaya juice
  • graduated cylinder (10 ml)
  • non-iodized salt
  • granulated sugar
  • pipet
  • Epsom salts
  • 15 ml test tube
  • bufferin (325 mg)
  • test tube rack or 250 ml beaker
  • ice cold 95% ethanol
  • glass stirring rod


  • Life Sciences
    • Cells
      • Cell Structure and Function
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Viruses and Bacteria
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • DNA Structure and Function
  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Hays, Lana