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Others Like “Slimey Likes It! Studying Chemotaxis in Physarum Polycephalum

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Can a simple organism that lives off of dead trees and that grows as a mass of protoplasm actually have intelligence? The goal of this science fair project is to test the ability of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to solve the problem of finding the shortest path through a maze. Read more
Zoo_p060
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a Physarum polycephalum culture kit. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when working with sharp blades and when working with hot solutions.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Most people are not aware that the soil around them is a battle scene. The combatants are very small—bacteria on one side and bacteriophage on the other. The bacteriophage (or phage for short) try to pierce the outer coats of the bacteria and inject them with phage DNA. If successful, the DNA will take over the inner machinery of the bacterial cells and force them to make many copies of the phage. After the copies are made, the bacterial cells break apart, releasing new phage that start… Read more
MicroBio_p029
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This is an advanced science project that requires access to a laboratory with a water bath and 37°C incubator. The kit you will use has enough supplies to perform the procedure one time. To repeat the procedure, you should order additional supplies (listed in the Materials and Equipment section), or make your own media and agar plates. Working with a science teacher or other mentor who is familiar with growing bacteria and titering phage would be helpful.
Material Availability You will need to order the bacteria, the phage, and the supplies from an online science supply store. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety The bacteria (E. coli B) and the phage (T4r) are not dangerous, but you should follow common-sense safety guidelines and wear gloves and safety goggles when working in the lab. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail What do pizza, milk shakes, and ice cream sundaes have in common, besides being delicious and loaded with calories? You might be surprised to learn that these foods, because they contain dairy products, cannot be eaten by the majority of people around the world. Dairy products contain the sugar molecule lactose, and the majority of people on the planet slowly begin to lose the ability to digest lactose after the age of 2. In this human biology and health science fair project, you will… Read more
BioChem_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability If lactase drops are not available in your local drug store or grocery store you will need to order them online. See the Materials & Equipment section for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever heard that nanoparticles can kill bacteria? You may have even seen some consumer products advertise that they contain antibacterial nanoparticles. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter long. Nanoparticles are usually just a few nanometers in diameter — really, really tiny! So how can something that small kill bacteria which are approximately 700 - 1400 nanometers across? Are they really effective? In this science project you will grow some E. coli bacteria and… Read more
MicroBio_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures. If you have questions or need a refresher plese consult the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicrobiologyTechniquesampTroubleshooting" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] guide
Material Availability Some materials need to be special ordered; see the Materials and Equipment list for details
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety You must follow general safety precautions for handling microorganisms. See the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] for details.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You know that sugar makes food sweet. But did you know that there are different kinds of sugar? Sucrose is the granulated sugar that you usually use for baking. Another kind of sugar, which is found in honey and in many fruits, is glucose. In this science fair project, you will measure the concentration of glucose in a variety of foods. You will use special strips that change color in response to glucose, to measure the glucose concentration in different foods. Read more
FoodSci_p049
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Does your skin get dry? Or do you know someone with dry skin? Dry skin can be a real medical problem for some people. You may have seen many kinds of lotions, creams, and ointments advertised as restorative for dry skin, especially dry hands. But how well do they work? And which ingredients are most important in making them work? In this science project, you will create a model of human skin using JELL-O® and test how well skin moisturizing products with different ingredients keep the… Read more
BioMed_p015
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase petri dishes online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended for using the stove.
Science Fair Project Idea
Though the Sun provides heat and light, which are essential for life on Earth, ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause damage to DNA. In this science fair project, you will experiment with a strain of yeast that is super-sensitive to UV light. This project will demonstrate the lethal effects of UV light when DNA damage is not repaired. Read more
BioChem_p036
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to order a UV-sensitive yeast kit online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: You might have to have the yeast delivered to a school if the company does not deliver to residential addresses.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Pouring hot agar plates should be done with caution.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Cake, cookies, pie, ice cream, hot chocolate, lemonade... Yum! What do all these delicious treats have in common? Sugar. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar adds bulk, flavor, and structure to foods. But is it necessary to add sugar to achieve sweetness? Can the same sweetness be achieved using sugar substitutes like artificial or natural sweeteners? In this project, you will test sugar and sugar substitutes and compare the sweetness of each in relation to sugar. In the end, your day will… Read more
FoodSci_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Some specialty items needed,see Materials List for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed that the salt you are using says it is "iodized"? Iodine is an important micronutrient, which means we need it in small quantities to be healthy. Because iodine is rare in many people's normal diets, it is added to table salt. Then when people salt their food, they are also adding this important micronutrient. In this food science project, you will use some kitchen-friendly chemistry to investigate which types of salt have iodine added (in the form of iodide) and which do… Read more
FoodSci_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered where acne comes from and how you can treat it? One major cause of acne is the colonization and infection of clogged pores with bacteria. In this science project, you'll test different acne medications and treatments to determine their effectiveness at killing bacteria. Read more
MicroBio_p019
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires access to some laboratory equipment, such as a 37°C incubator, as well as some specialty reagents, which can be ordered online. See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety This science project involves the use of the bacterium E. coli. Standard microbiology and bacterial safety guidelines should be followed, see the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] for more details. To maintain a sterile environment, you will be working near a lighted Bunsen burner. Keep all flammables, including hair and clothing, away from the flame.
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