What a great project you have! It seems well thought-out and has clear relevance to people.
I just posted a reply on your partner Kevin's post:
It sounds like you have a good idea of where your project is going, and it will be helpful for you to have a mentor guiding you.
Here are some tips from Science Buddies about how to find a mentor: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f
The professors at UC Berkeley have a lot going on (especially at this time of year) and may not have had time to respond to you yet. Have you tried contacting other universities (e.g., San Jose State, Santa Clara University) or community colleges in the Bay area? Often the professors at the teaching-focused colleges are given a little more time for mentorship activities. Try broadening your search to find a mentor.
If you are still unable to find a suitable mentor, did you consider whether it is possible to do your experiment with E. coli instead of Bacillus cereus?
From your post, I understand that you are interested in working with Bacillus cereus
because it is known to cause food poisoning. However, that is also the reason that its use is restricted in many science fairs. I really think that you can do the same project with E. coli
(for which some non-laboratory strains can also cause food poisoning) and still consider your results to be relevant.
Looking at the antibacterial properties of peppermint is an excellent idea, and it can be carried out with E. coli
, which can be cultured in a high school laboratory.
This Science Buddies project will help you with the procedure: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p014.shtml
Here is some safety information about working with microorganisms: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... fety.shtml
Here are details regarding the use of agar, the material used to culture bacteria: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... Agar.shtml
Good luck, and please post again (in this same thread) if you have more questions!