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Growing Bacteria in Nutrient Agar
Alex Sallade

Abstract-Pg.2 Introduction-Pg. 2 Statement of problem-Pg. 2 Variables-Pg. 2 Hypothesis-Pg. 3 Review of Literature-Pg. 3 Materials-Pg. 3 Procedures-Pg. 4 Method-Pg. 4 Results-Pg. 5 Recommendations-Pg. 6 Conclusions-Pg. 6

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Abstract My experiment was growing bacteria in agar Petri dishes. The problem for my experiment was ³What item in my house contains the most bacteria?´ I collected bacteria from a doorknob, a computer keyboard, a soap bottle, and a TV remote. In the end it turned out the soap bottle had the most bacteria on it, but the bacteria in the computer keyboard dish took up more area. If you go by the size of the bacteria, the computer had the most bacteria, but if you go by the amount of bacteria spots, the soap bottle had more bacteria. Introduction The purpose of my experiment was to see what item out of a computer keyboard, doorknob, soap bottle, and TV remote contained the most bacteria. My goal was to figure out what item of those four had the most bacteria. Based on the research the TV remote should have the most bacteria and the soap bottle would have the least bacteria. Even though based on the research the TV remote would have more, my hypothesis was that the computer would because my family¶s always using it. Problem What item in my house out of a doorknob, TV remote, computer keyboard, and soap bottle has the most bacteria on it? Variables Independent-The item swiped for bacteria (Doorknob, keyboard, soap bottle, and TV remote) Dependent- The amount of bacteria grown in the Petri dishes Control- Petri dish size Control- Agar viscosity Control- Room temperature Control- Cotton swabs were sterile

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Hypothesis If I gather bacteria from a TV remote, computer keyboard, doorknob, and a soap bottle, then the computer keyboard will grow the most bacteria. Review of Literature There are 12 different types of agar; Blood, Chocolate, Luria Bertani, MaConkey, Miller¶s LB, Neomycin, non-nutrient, nutrient, Sabouraud, Thayer-Martin, Tryptic Soy, and XLD agar. I used nutrient agar which is the most commonly used agar because it is suitable for growing bacteria safely and has a very low risk of human contamination unlike Blood, Chocolate, Thayer-Martin, Neomycin, and Sabouraud agar. Nutrient agar has a light brown/beige color and the texture is very similar to gelatin, but agar can stick to Petri dishes. I also researched the dirtiest items in a house. The website listed the top ten items; Bathtub, kitchen drain, telephone, toothbrush, remote control, computer keyboard/mouse, cutting board, behind appliances, top of refrigerator, and doorknobs. I used a doorknob, TV remote, computer keyboard, and a soap bottle. Based on the website the TV remote would have the most bacteria and the soap bottle would have the least (Because it wasn¶t even in the top 10). Materials y Bottled agar formula y 8 sterilized Petri dishes y 8 sterilized cotton swabs y Tray/Rack y Gloves/Oven mitts y Microwave y 200ml agar formula

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Procedure 1. Sterilize your Petri dishes by placing them in boiling water then dry them upside-down on a drying rack. If they are still in packaging keep them there until use. 2. Unscrew the cap of the bottle of agar formula a little and place it in the microwave to warm and liquefy. 3. When the agar is liquid, hold the bottle with the gloves or oven mitts and pour the agar into the Petri dishes. 4. Pour enough so it¶s about 1/8 an inch thick and put the lid on fast to let it dry. 5. Let the agar solidify for a few hours. 6. Once dry, get the cotton swabs one at a time to transfer the bacteria 7. Rub one cotton swab on the object them quickly rub it on the agar 8. When rubbing it on the agar, hold the tray upside down so bacteria in the air doesn¶t fall onto it. 9. Let the bacteria grow

Method To record the growing bacteria, I took notes in my lab notebook each day. I wrote about each Petri dish that had bacteria growing, and then wrote which had nothing grown yet. Each item I rubbed a cotton swab, a computer keyboard, a doorknob, a soap bottle, and a TV remote, got two Petri dishes to grow stuff on. The dishes were D1, D2, S1, S2, T1, T2, C1, and C2. I included the color, size, and shape of the bacteria spots so I¶d be able to see changes from day to day. My control variables were that the Petri dishes were the same, they were all in the same room and on the same rack, the agar had the same viscosity in each Petri dish, and I applied the bacteria the same for each dish. For the first few days nothing had grow, but after 6 days, on Feb. 3, one spot grew in Petri dish C1. Every day since Feb. 3 more spots grew and changed. I originally planned to record the bacteria growing for 1 week, but it took almost a week for one spot to grow so instead I recorded for 2 weeks.

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After recordings for two weeks, I did my final recording then counted the number of bacteria spots in the Petri dishes. Results
50 45 40 35 30 Amount of 25 Bacteria 20 15 10 5 0

Growing Bacteria in Nutrient Agar

Dish 1 Dish 2


Soap Bottle

TV Remote

Items swiped for bacteria

Computer Keyboard

According to the number of spots the soap bottle had the most bacteria on it. But according to how much room the bacteria took up, the computer keyboard had the most. C1 had two very big spots that took up more room than the spots in S1. S1 C1

As you can see, the spots in C1 are much bigger and take up more room.

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Recommendations My experiment has been done differently by many people with different variables and methods, but done are ever the exact same. One person might do this project but use a piano as one of the items instead of a doorknob. Also, everybody¶s house, or wherever the cotton swabs were swiped, is different. They could have more bacteria or fewer bacteria. Because all of these uncontrollable variables that would affect the project immensely, there¶s no way of having any good expected results. If I was to do this again, I¶d change a lot of things. I would keep the agar in a warmer room. The room I had the agar in wasn¶t that warm and might have slowed down the growing process, making the experiment take twice as long as expected. I would also use a different variable instead of a doorknob since that Petri dish had nothing grown. When I poured the agar, there were some parts not fully melted so they were big chunks in the Petri dishes. Next time, I¶d make sure that the formula is fully prepared to be poured. I would¶ve liked to see how much bacteria would grow in another week, or month, or even a few months. Conclusion The results of the experiment arguably supported my hypothesis. If you decide which Petri dish had more bacteria growing by the number of spots, the soap pump would have the most. But if you decide which had more bacteria by how much room they took up, the computer keyboard had the most. The results I got didn¶t match the ones from online at all. The TV remote had only more than the doorknob, which should have been less than the soap bottle. The only explanation of nothing growing in the D1 or D2 is that the bacteria couldn¶t grow fast enough because of the temperature. I expected the TV remote to have more because it¶s constantly being used and is touched by everyone in my family, like the computer keyboard. I was surprised the soap bottle had as much bacteria growing as did, but I must¶ve swiped a spot where a lot of bacteria had been.

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"Growing Bacteria in Petri Dishes." Steve Spangler Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000165>. "How To Grow Bacteria in Agar Petri Dishes." SCIENCECompany. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://secure.sciencecompany.com/How-To-Grow-Bacteria-in-Agar-PetriDishes-W54.aspx>. Popovitch, Trish. "How to Make Agar Plates." eHow.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2011. <http://www.ehow.com/how_5563283_make-agar-plates.html>. <http://www.howtocleanstuff.net/the-10-dirtiest-things-in-your-home/> <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/MicroBio_Agar.shtml>

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