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Science fair Project:Help?

Nicholas Landau nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu
Wed Sep 18 22:58:43 EST 1996

fning at aztec.asu.edu (FENGTAO NING) writes:

>I hope I won't annoy anyone with tis message. But, well, I want to do
>a Science Fair Project in Microbiology. I just have no idea what to do?
>I am in 7th Grade Middle SChool?? Can anyone give me suggestions, or
>maybe pointers to sites with articles that might provide an experiment/
>Research. Please only give pointers appropiate for Middle School level.

Microbiology is great for middle-school experiments, as it is the very
grossest science.  Here is a really gross experiment which just popped
into mind:

Two weeks before the fair, take a piece of bread out of a loaf and leave
it on a window sill someplace where your parents will not see it every day.
Now, take out a fresh piece every day and place it in the window with
the older ones.

You will see a variety of bacteria and molds grow on the bread, appearing
at different times.  When the fair rolls around, you can show everybody
moldy bread which is from 1 to 14 days old.  If you have access to a
microscope, you can look at the various agents of decomposition.  In
any case, you should try ot identify them.  You can tell the species
of most common bread molds and fungi by looking at them, but bacteria
you will just have to call bacteria.

Which organisms grow first?  Which come later?  Why do some grow earlier
and other later?  Are any of the organisms on your bread of medical
significance (hint!)

This should be pretty interesting, especially with a microscope.  You
will probably have the gross prize, if not any other prize.

Good luck!

Nick Landau
Dept. Microbiology and Biochemistry
Rutgers University, New Jersey
nlandau at eden.rutgers.edu

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