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Ascorbic acid and Massospora cicadina

Postby plen17 » Thu May 06, 2021 3:21 pm

Hello, I am a high school junior interested in conducting a research project on ascorbic acid's effects on Massospora cicadina and cicadas.

I have only done cursory research on this topic, but I want to ensure this is achievable given my limited resources before investigating in greater depth.

Is it possible to gain access to cicadas and a fungal pathogen, Massospora cicadina, at an affordable price?
How would I be able to measure neurological and physiological responses to ascorbic acid and Massospora cicadina on cicadas?
If a lab is necessary to conduct research on these effects, how can I reach out to nearby labs if I only have limited knowledge on the subject?

Thank you for your time!

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Re: Ascorbic acid and Massospora cicadina

Postby koneill18 » Tue May 11, 2021 6:10 pm


This is a really interesting area of research! I did some research on Massospora cicadina infection in cicadas and I found a few scientific papers on the topic. I looked at the methods used by each of the research groups, and it looks like they sampled infected cicadas from the wild for their studies. To do this project, I think you would have to live in an area where you’re able to observe these specific types of cicadas in the wild. It doesn't look like cicadas or Massospora cicadina can be purchased. If you do live in an area with cicadas, you would definitely need help from a research lab to do this project since it requires working with a pathogenic microorganism. If your project is for a science fair, you should also check the fair’s rules to make sure it’s okay for you to use microorganisms. Some science fairs regulate what kinds of biological materials can be used in science projects.

If you're not able to study this particular type of fungus, you might be able to plan a project around a different type of fungus. Students who want to do science projects with fungi often use yeast because it’s safe, easy to obtain and culture, and relatively cheap. If you’re interested in testing how well different substances work as antifungals, you could consider doing a project like this:

If you’re more interested in doing an animal behavior study and your school doesn't have any rules against using live animals for your project, you could consider using drosophila flies. They’re available for purchase on the Carolina Biological website. You could add the ascorbic acid to their food and see what effect it has on their behavior.

I hope this helps!

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