cicichen
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

ONLY 7 days left! Please HELP me to find a topic ASAP!!!!!

Postby cicichen » Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:31 am

I'm starting a second year science project just right now.

Last year I've done a winning project in microbiology using defferent detergents(water, soap, salt) to eliminate E. coli on the contaminated wood cutting boards.

Should I continue in this topic? If so, what should I do to make it another year project? I talk to my teacher and we don't know how to make it further. Please reply if you have any suggestion or idea!

If anyone wants to take a look at my last year's project, I can certainly sent a copy of my project report in detail. Please leave your e-mail address so I can send it to you.

If I decide to start a new topic, I would like to do experiment relating to microbiology, biotechnologh, or genomics. I really would love to do my experiments in lab!

My goal for this year is to enter some big competitions so I really need a good topic and an attracting project! Please help me ASAP!!!!

I MUST decide the topic in THIS week!!!!!! :shock: :cry:
Thanks a lot!

Cici

JordanU740
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Reply to CiCi

Postby JordanU740 » Sun Sep 09, 2007 1:05 pm

Hey CiCi
I think you should do a continuence on this project. Maybe you could take the detergent that killed the least E-Coli and somehow ad something to it to see if it kills an increased number in E-Coli. I hope this helps.
Jordan 8)
Jordan U

ChrisG
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Postby ChrisG » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:11 am

Hi Cici,
We are not supposed to be posting our email addresses in this forum, but you may be able to send documents to the experts via the forum administrators, or you can just cut-and-paste last year's project info in this thread so that everyone can see it.

Was there anything in last years' project that left you wondering? Any unanswered questions about the results? Those sorts of puzzles can provide a good topic for further experiments.

If you need to choose a new experiment, it is difficult to suggest a particular topic in microbiology, biotechnology, and genomics, because there are so many possibilities. Have you tried the topic selection wizard?
http://www.sciencebuddies.com/mentoring ... _guest.php
You can also browse topics by subject:
http://www.sciencebuddies.com/mentoring ... ?from=Home
http://www.sciencebuddies.com/mentoring ... ?from=Home

Even if these exact topics are not suitable for you, let us know if you see one that you like. It will help us to figure out what would interest you.

cicichen
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

Postby cicichen » Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:10 pm

Thanks for Jordan and Chris's comments. They are helpful for me.

I can certainly post my entire research paper here, but I'm afraid it would be too long(it's more than 20 pgs), so I'll post my abstract and experiment design. That would explain my last's year's project a little further.

cicichen
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

Postby cicichen » Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:18 pm

Abstract

The objective of this project is to look for a cleaning method(tap water wash, soap wash, or salt wash) that can best eliminate pathogenic contamination from wooden cutting boards, and reduce food borne illnesses caused by cross-contamination in kitchen.

In five trials, wooden boards were washed with water only, soap, or salt. Each board was then sampled and colony counts were compared.

Some trials showed inconsisitent data due to anomalies in wood absorption. In the subsequent trials, changes were applied such as sponge wiping under tap water in Trials #2 through #5, double sets of control in Trial #3, and lengthened washing period in Trial #4 and #5.

Trial #4 showed a significant decrease in bacterial growth after the washing period was lengthened. Comparing the control board, the water wash board reduced the colony counts by approximately 49%, the soap wash board reduced the colony counts by approximately 60%, and the salt wash board reduced the colony counts by approximately 67%.

According to my experiments, longer washing with any treatment(water wash, soap wash, or salt wash) can reduce approximately 50% or more boacterial growth on the wood cutting boards. And salt rubbing under flowing water proved more effective than the soap washing as usually recommended. The results are not 100% conclusive due to the limited number of trials, yet my experiments were done with carefully thought-out techniques and improved with each trial.

cicichen
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

Postby cicichen » Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:33 pm

Project Question: Washing wooden cutting boards with water, soapy water, or salt, which can best prevent E. coli contamination?

Hypothesis: Washing cutting boards with soapy water can better prevent E. coli contamination than salt and water, and potentially reduce food borne illness.


Procedure

1. Made a knw concentration (Mcfarland Standard #2) of E. coli in broth.

2. Use swabs, transferred the broth across the board surface from left to right, repeat once. Allowed 30 seconds incubation.

3. Four groups of wooden boards were used in the experiment. One was not wased, as control. The other three boards were washed under tap water, soapy water, or salt.

4. The broth on controlled board was immediately sampled to agar plates.

6. The water wash board was washed by a soak sponge under tap water for 2 mins, then dried for 2 mins.

7. The soap wash board was washed constantly (with soapy sponge)under the tap water for 2.5 mins. Dried for 2 miins.

8. The salt wash board was washed constantly (with salt on sponge)under the tap water for 2.5 mins. Dried for 2 mins.

9. The water wash, soap wash, and salt wash boards were sampled to agar plates.

10. Allowed 24 hrs incubation

11. Counted the colonies on agar plates and compared.

ChrisG
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Postby ChrisG » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:47 am

There are a lot of possibilities of how you could build on your previous experiment. For example, you could test different cutting board & cooking surfaces (stainless steel, bamboo, wood, plastic etc), or you could test changes in microbial populations over time after the boards are washed.

Did you get a chance to follow those links? Were there any topics that caught your attention?

Just out of curiosity, how did you do this step?
9. The water wash, soap wash, and salt wash boards were sampled to agar plates.

cicichen
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Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

Postby cicichen » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:04 pm

That's what I did: I drew six 1''* 1'' squares on the board surface. Then I dip the swab into the bacteria broth and wipe the surface evenly. After I done washing the board with detergents under tap water, I used another swap to take what's left on the board surface and use the swap to transfer bacteria on the agar plants.

There were some qroblems in my experiment. First, the broth dried up pretty fast. So I was transfering four board all at once. By the time I finished all of them, the fist two (or more) were starting to dry.
I suspected the wood aborbtion had something to do with why the data were inconstant, and the each wood's abortion rate was also different, so the wood is actually a variable. And if you notice, the wood cutting has a lots of gaps on the surface, and every board's surface were also different because of that, I think that explains why wood board absorb liquid really fast and each wood piece is unique. This caused me a lot of trouble fixing my experiment.

I did test on two different timing. I first washed the boards for 15sec, and it didn't kill bacteria at all, so I extend it to 2 min. And that was a big part of my discovery. I found that washing the boards longer would help better eliminate the bateria colonies on all detergents. And like wise, if you wash your board carelessly for about few seconds, no matter what you use to wash with, it would not come out good.

Louise
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Postby Louise » Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:48 pm

cicichen wrote:And if you notice, the wood cutting has a lots of gaps on the surface, and every board's surface were also different because of that, I think that explains why wood board absorb liquid really fast and each wood piece is unique. This caused me a lot of trouble fixing my experiment.


Why don't you study this then? Check different types of wood, different types of surfaces (sanded, rough, etc.) and see if you can explore why wood results varied. Some people have those fancy board with 20 types of wood in them. So if the bacteria is more on one type of wood, this could be a bad idea, even though they looke pretty!

Louise

cicichen
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Postby cicichen » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:10 pm

I know that I’ve been asking help on my last year’s project, and I’m sorry that I’m sort of changing the subject. But the other day I was doing some research on genetic engineering and microbiology (these two areas really fascinate me) and I got some ideas on lactose intolerance and hydrogen production.

I know a lot of Asians (especially the Chinese) are lactose intolerance. And my families cannot take mild regularly. So I think doing some experiment in that might help. I’m thinking about making a genetically modify fermentative bacteria with a gent that can produce lactase, and we can then use this bacteria to make milk product like yogurt, bread, or ice cream. I also learned that several bacteria can produce lactase, so maybe testing how much lactase they release can be involve in part of this experiment.

I also read about some articles on bio-fuel. I think having bacteria produce hydrogen would have some advantages over other sources. And I know there are fermentative bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria that produce hydrogen, and there are some studies on using bacteria to split water to hydrogen. But this subject involves a lot in chemistry and I’m just starting chemistry this year, so I’m having difficulty understanding some reactions in the process. But do any of you think these topics are interesting? Will I be able to perform the experiments on my own? Or with helps from laboratory?

I’m just entering the science field (I started science class last year, and that’s when I started a project), and I’ve been in U.S. less than three years, so there are a lots of things I don’t know of. So if you have any suggestions or are expert in these areas, please help me! Thank you so much!!!!

Cici

Louise
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Postby Louise » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:33 am

cicichen wrote:I know that I’ve been asking help on my last year’s project, and I’m sorry that I’m sort of changing the subject. But the other day I was doing some research on genetic engineering and microbiology (these two areas really fascinate me) and I got some ideas on lactose intolerance and hydrogen production.

I know a lot of Asians (especially the Chinese) are lactose intolerance. And my families cannot take mild regularly. So I think doing some experiment in that might help. I’m thinking about making a genetically modify fermentative bacteria with a gent that can produce lactase, and we can then use this bacteria to make milk product like yogurt, bread, or ice cream. I also learned that several bacteria can produce lactase, so maybe testing how much lactase they release can be involve in part of this experiment.

I also read about some articles on bio-fuel. I think having bacteria produce hydrogen would have some advantages over other sources. And I know there are fermentative bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria that produce hydrogen, and there are some studies on using bacteria to split water to hydrogen. But this subject involves a lot in chemistry and I’m just starting chemistry this year, so I’m having difficulty understanding some reactions in the process. But do any of you think these topics are interesting? Will I be able to perform the experiments on my own? Or with helps from laboratory?

I’m just entering the science field (I started science class last year, and that’s when I started a project), and I’ve been in U.S. less than three years, so there are a lots of things I don’t know of. So if you have any suggestions or are expert in these areas, please help me! Thank you so much!!!!

Cici


Cici,
I think that these are all very interesting topics, but probably beyond your abilities, unless you have a mentor at a university who can provide access to microbiology labs. If you live near a university, it may be possible for you to find a mentor. Many different researchers are working on the bio-fuel problem, from many different directions. [The lactase problem is probably researched much less.] If you are interested in this area, continue to do reading, and see if you can narrow down your topic.

Most biofuel strategies involve using bacteria to produce ethanol, not hydrogen. Here are a few threads with some useful links on this topic.
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2507&postdays=0&posto
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2686&highlight=biofuel

Louise

ChrisG
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Postby ChrisG » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:39 am

I agree with Louise that these topics, as you've written them, are probably too complicated to conquer without working in a university lab. However, I expect that with a little help from a mentor, you could simplify the latose/lactase topic to a degree that it would be feasible for you to perform on your own, or with a little help from a high school teacher or parent. There is no immediate need to genetically modify microbes to produce lactase - many lactase producing microbes exist and are easily cultured (for example, by making yogurt). Lactase enzymes are also readily available in non-prescription pills (e.g. Lactaid). Instructions are available online to conduct relatively simple tests for lactose utilizing enzyme (beta-galactosidase) using ONPG
http://www.rlc.dcccd.edu/mathsci/reynol ... /ONPG.html
http://www.science-projects.com/LacInhibSetUp.htm
ONPG is not terribly expensive to purchase
http://www.medox.net/product_data.asp?q ... t&c=20&p=9

Does this give you any ideas?

If you haven't looked at this page, it's worth reading. There is a nice overview of lactase:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactase

cicichen
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:52 am

Postby cicichen » Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:16 pm

Cici,
I think that these are all very interesting topics, but probably beyond your abilities, unless you have a mentor at a university who can provide access to microbiology labs. If you live near a university, it may be possible for you to find a mentor. Many different researchers are working on the bio-fuel problem, from many different directions. [The lactase problem is probably researched much less.] If you are interested in this area, continue to do reading, and see if you can narrow down your topic.

Most biofuel strategies involve using bacteria to produce ethanol, not hydrogen. Here are a few threads with some useful links on this topic.
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring ... ys=0&posto
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring ... wtopic.php?
t=2686&highlight=biofuel
Louise



Thank you for your suggestions!

Base on the information, I assume you support the topic I have on bio-fuel more than on lactose.

I read about the two links you've given me on ethanol. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but those projects don't seem to relate with bacteria. And I become a little confused.

Could you tell me some more about how bacteria is involved in the bio-fuel and what are some ways that they can be used to produce energy?

I will talk to more people that know a lot better than me, and I will keep on studying on this!

Thank you!

Louise
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Postby Louise » Fri Sep 14, 2007 3:25 pm

Thank you for your suggestions!

Base on the information, I assume you support the topic I have on bio-fuel more than on lactose.

Not at all. I know more about biofuel, and if you are looking for a mentor at a university, you are more likely to find someone researching biofuel rather than lactase. As Chris mentioned, there are already many solutions to the lactose-intolerance problem, so less research is done on that topic. Finding a solution to the world's energy problems is obviously not solved, so there is much research (and money for research) in this area.

I read about the two links you've given me on ethanol. Maybe I wasn't paying enough attention, but those projects don't seem to relate with bacteria. And I become a little confused.


Well, I really meant for you to look at the links within the two threads, though the threads themselves address some of the questions about why some biofuels are more 'interesting' than others. The issue is 'how can you convert cellulose to ethanol' and one answer is to use bacteria. The problem is, many bacteria that produce ethanol like to use sugar not cellulose. Plants that are high in sugar are more valuable as food, than to be converted to ethanol for fuel. So, can you genetically modify bacteria to convert useless plants (high in cellulose) to fuel like ethanol? This I thought was related to your interest. Another way to make ethanol from cellulose is chemically, by treatment with acid and other chemicals, but this is pretty expensive.

Does this make sense?


Louise


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