Organic and Regular Milk

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Organic and Regular Milk

Postby meenutx » Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:12 pm

Hello! This year for science fair, my friend and I would like to do a project on the differences between Organic and Regular ( rBST treated ) milk, since it is such a controversy. We would like to test a number of Organic milk companies along with regular milk. We would either like to test the nutritional value or the contaminants ( relating to health ) in both types of milk. What we would like to know is how to test either of them. We do have access to a lab at a college if needed. Also, another question; is this 8th grade appropriate? My friend and I both love science so we would not mind putting in a little effort and researching more to understand, but is this way above our level? We would love any advice, as we have no idea how to test our milk, and the ones we found were either too expensive, or difficult. We appreciate the help. Thanks! :D
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:37 pm
Occupation: Student 8th grade
Project Question: Does Organic Milk really not have the contaminants that Regular Milk supposedly has?
Project Due Date: September 28
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Organic and Regular Milk

Postby donnahardy2 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:51 am

Hi Meenutx,

Welcome to Science Buddies! Your idea for a science fair project on a controversial topic is very original and could be an excellent project. However, you have some work to do to identify a controlled experiment to do that would answer your research question.

It would be difficult to analyze levels of bovine somatotropin/bovine growth hormone rBST/BGH because levels would be in the picogram per milliter range, so would require expensive equipment and reagents. The insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that is stimulated by rBST and identical to human IGF-1 is also present in similar levels. Do you have access to a lab that has analytical equipment?

Have you done any background reading to identify a possible difference in composition of milk that you could measure? The Wikipedia article on this subject, which appears to be a good reference with lots of literature citations, states that there an insignificant difference in the fat, protein, and lactose content of rBST-treated and regular milk.

However, there was a court ruling in 2010 that said there was a compositional difference between treated and untreated milk, which may “make the milk turn sour more quickly.” So one possible experiment would be to compare the time that it takes rBST-treated and untreated milk to spoil. Check out the information on microbiology techniques from the Science Buddies website if you think you are interested in doing this project. You would still need to develop your research question and design the experiment. ... ques.shtml

I noticed that your project is due on September 28. Is this the final due date? If so, then you might consider doing a survey on this subject and analyze people’s opinions on this subject. Here is information for doing a survey project: ... rvey.shtml

You would need to work quickly to get this project done.

I recommend that you do additional searching on the internet and look for any reports of compositional differences between treated and untreated milk that you could measure with an experiment of your own.

Let me know what you decide to do, and I’ll provide additional suggestions for the project.

Donna Hardy
Posts: 2230
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:45 pm

Re: Organic and Regular Milk

Postby sarahlaugtug » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:37 pm


I came across your topic and I like that you are exploring this! It is great to know that young minds are interested in the food they consume and the treatment of natural resources, such as cows. Here was an article you might find interesting:

Also, since you only have a couple more weeks until the due date of your project, you might want to do a research based project rather than performing an experiment. Is that a possibility? If so, you can explore topics such as what is rBST, why it is so controversial, why would people not want rBST in their milk and does it make a difference, and what is your personal preference or argument for your preference.

How about a taste test? I have read and heard that milk with and without rBST have taste differences. You might not want to do this if you are against drinking rBST milk. Though the FDA has approved milk with rBST to be safe.

You can also explore the process in which food products are tested for safety by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration):

Also, one might consider the effects of the added hormone it has on the animal rather than on the person who consumes the animal product. Are there consequences to the animals treated, and how does that affect milk production and the life of the animal? This can be done with research, rather than an experiment, which would take more time.

Let me know what you two come up with.
Always remain curious,
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:49 pm
Occupation: Biology, Ecology Educator
Project Question: Ask an Expert Volunteer
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable

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