Nashrakhan
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HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:33 pm

Hello,

I am a current high schooler that plans on conducting research about the effect of ayurvedic medicine (specifically curcumin) on staphylococcus aureus (which causes eczema). Fortunately, I have a great deal of time before I can get started on this project. The problem is that I have no idea where to get started. Like I have absolutely no direction in which I'll be taking this project. I was hoping somebody had an idea on what I can do and where I can get started. If you are anyone who has any insight, please feel free to email me @nashra6366@gmail.com

Thank you so much

koneill18
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby koneill18 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:07 am

Hello,

This sounds like a great idea for a project! Microbiology is a really interesting field, and there are a lot of projects you can do with bacteria.

One of the first steps in planning this project is to decide what bacteria you want to use. Keep in mind that Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogenic organism, which means companies probably won’t sell or ship it to high schools or to individuals. You would only be able to use it if you worked on your project at a college or university. If you’re not able to do that, you can choose a different, non-pathogenic bacteria that’s safe for you to work with at your school or at home. I would recommend E. coli K-12. This is a safe E. coli strain that you can order from a science supply website like Home Science Tools or Carolina Biological. E. coli can cause skin infections in people who have eczema, so I think it’s still relevant to your project.

If this is your first time working with bacteria, you should familiarize yourself with the proper techniques and safety guidelines. Here are links to the Science Buddies Microorganisms Safety Guide and the Microbiology Techniques and Troubleshooting page that you can check out before you start your project.
https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/microorganisms-safety

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/references/microbiology-techniques-troubleshooting

Now for the fun part: figuring out what experiments you want to do with the bacteria! One of the most common techniques for testing the effects of antimicrobial substances on bacteria is the Kirby-Bauer disk-diffusion method. This is a technique where you apply the antimicrobial substances to disks and then place the disks directly onto the surface of nutrient agar plates that have bacteria growing on them. If the bacteria die when exposed to the substance on the disk, then you know that it has antimicrobial properties. If you wanted to use this technique for your project, you could purchase liquid curcumin so that it will be absorbed by the disks. Here are the links to two Science Buddies projects that use the Kirby-Bauer method:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/MicroBio_p014/microbiology/measuring-antimicrobial-effectiveness-with-zones-of-inhibition#summary

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/MicroBio_p019/microbiology/acne-zits-medication#summary

You could also browse the other Microbiology projects on Science Buddies to get some more inspiration:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/microbiology

I hope this helps give you a place to start when planning your project. As you continue to plan, please feel free to post any other questions or concerns that you have!
Katelyn

Nashrakhan
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Tue Apr 27, 2021 1:02 pm

Wow this was really insightful. Thank you so much! I also wanted to ask how exactly would I measure the decay rate of the bacteria. I'm having trouble thinking about what exactly should my dependent variable be. Should I stick with just curcumin or measure with a few other ayurvedic products such as neem powder, etc. What direction do you suggest I take this?

Once again, thank you!

koneill18
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby koneill18 » Tue Apr 27, 2021 3:58 pm

Hello,

No problem, I'm glad it was helpful! If the antimicrobial substance on the disk is lethal to the bacteria, then the bacteria around the disk will start to die and form a zone of inhibition. This will look like a clear ring around the disk. If you measure the diameter of the zone of inhibition, this will tell you how susceptible the bacteria are to the antimicrobial substance. This procedure is described in more detail in the Procedure section of this project guide:

https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/MicroBio_p014/microbiology/measuring-antimicrobial-effectiveness-with-zones-of-inhibition#procedure

I think it's a great idea to test out other ayurvedic products besides the curcumin! The filter disks are small so you could test out a few different products on the same agar plate. You can maybe choose 3 or 4 different products to test and see which one is the most effective as an antimicrobial.

I hope this helps!
Katelyn

Nashrakhan
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Wed Apr 28, 2021 1:27 pm

Ok, thank you! This was all very helpful. I will let you know if anything else comes up when I actually start my experimentation!

Nashrakhan
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Sun May 02, 2021 10:02 pm

Hey,

I had a quick question. Do you know where I can get Propionibacterium acnes from? I wanted to test the herbal medicine to see how they affect acne on the skin but I'm not sure how feasible it would be to acquire p acnes compared to e.coli k-12. Do you suggest I use P. acnes or E-coli?

Thank you!

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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby koneill18 » Mon May 03, 2021 6:32 am

Hi,

Propionibacterium acnes is going to be harder for you to obtain than E. coli K-12. It's available from ATCC, but you can't purchase it yourself as a student. You would need someone from your school to purchase it for you. You could talk to your teacher about whether or not that's a possibility.

https://www.atcc.org/Products/All/6919.aspx

However, Propionibacterium acnes is pretty difficult to culture- especially if you've never cultured any bacteria before. It needs to be grown in anaerobic conditions, so you would need an incubator with no oxygen inside. It also requires some special nutrients for growth. You can do some more background research on the exact method for culturing Propionibacterium acnes to see if it's something you could feasibly do. I think E. coli would be the better choice because it's much safer and easier to culture. It's a good option for students who are still learning how to culture bacteria, and it's easy to purchase it yourself from Home Science Tools or Carolina Biological.

I hope this helps!

Nashrakhan
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Wed May 05, 2021 1:35 pm

Alright! But what would my driving factor be? Like does E-Coli also cause or possibly irritate acne and skin conditions?

Thanks for all the help!

koneill18
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby koneill18 » Thu May 06, 2021 5:19 pm

Hello,

I don’t think E. coli plays a big role in acne specifically, but it does commonly cause other types of skin infections. One example is Gram-negative folliculitis. This is a disorder similar to acne that is caused by gram-negative bacteria like E. coli. E. coli can also infect skin wounds. This is a big concern for patients who are staying in the hospital after getting surgery. If you summarize what’s known about the role of E. coli in skin infections and why E. coli infection is a health problem that needs to be solved, I think that would provide a strong rationale for your project!

Something else you could do is do some research on the mechanism of action of each of your herbal medicines. How do they kill bacteria? Do they destroy the bacterial cell membrane? Do they inhibit some of the bacterial virulence factors? If the medicines target a structure that Propionibacterium acnes and E. coli both have, then you could reasonably argue that your results with E. coli would apply to Propionibacterium as well.

Are the medicines that you’re investigating for this experiment normally applied to the skin, or would they be consumed? E. coli is one of the most common bacteria found in the human intestines. If the herbal medicines are edible, this experiment could help you investigate what effect they might have on the gut microbiome. That’s just another avenue you could explore if you decide to move away from the skin.

I hope this gives you some inspiration! Let us know if you need more clarification on any of these points!

Nashrakhan
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Occupation: Student

Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Fri May 07, 2021 12:45 pm

It's great that you said that because I was thinking of this the other day. E-coli actually causes UTI infections and since herbal medicines are consumable, I could find the effect of those herbal medicines on the human intestines as opposed to on the skin. Like turmeric is consumed when people have UTIs but I have not heard how effective it is. I think I am finally getting a good vision for this project. Thank you so much for everything!

Nashrakhan
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Occupation: Student

Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby Nashrakhan » Fri May 07, 2021 1:26 pm

And just to confirm, If I do the Kirky-Bauber test using the sterile disks, the herbs will need to be liquid, right?

koneill18
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Re: HELP ON MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH PROJECT

Postby koneill18 » Fri May 07, 2021 1:39 pm

That sounds like a great idea! I'm glad you were able to develop your vision for the project. Yes, the herbs would have to be liquid so that the disks can absorb them. The disks are made out of paper, so you just have to tap them on the surface of the liquid you want to test, and they will absorb it. If you have any more questions as you continue with your project, feel free to post them here!


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