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The effect of music on bacteria....?

Postby _batman_ » Sun Sep 08, 2013 4:05 pm

Hi! I am in 9th grade and my science fair topic is: Does music alter the growth of bacteria? I havent started the project yet but I needed to do some research before I turned in my topic. I already know that bacteria cannot hear, but I needed to know if they are sensitive to vibrations. I will pick a certain genre of music that are diverse from each other (I was thinking classical and hard rock) and I would see what were the differences in growth. Thank you for the help, any information on the question would help! :D :?: :?:

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Re: The effect of music on bacteria....?

Postby connief » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:14 pm

Hi _batman_,

What an interesting topic! How did you come across this? I'm not sure whether you had done an extensive google search on this topic already, but I just did a quick one myself and found some pretty interesting articles. For example, in Germany, they found that playing Mozart stimulated bacteria to breakdown sewage more efficiently (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... art-sewage). There was also another study done where they found that different sounds applied to yeast cells while they were growing altered their metabolic profiles (http://www.metabolomics.auckland.ac.nz/ ... cts-top/28). Granted, these are yeast and not bacteria, but I still think it's quite interesting that sounds and vibrations can have such effects on these microbes! So I think you have an idea that may yield some potentially interesting results.

I had also found some science fair projects that dealt with this topic. Even though one group concluded from their results that the presence of music decreased the growth of bacteria compared to bacteria that were grown in silence, I personally think that their results are a bit unclear because the experiments weren't well controlled. However, you should definitely look those up yourself, look at their results, and see how you interpret them. Do you have any ideas about the experiments you would like to do with your project? For example, where do you think you will get the bacteria? What kinds of bacteria will you use? Will you only test the effects of music on one strain of bacteria, or will you do it on several strains and see whether different music will alter the growth of different strains? Have you also thought about looking at other characteristics of the bacteria other than growth? Since some of the articles I had found seem to suggest that music/vibrations can affect the metabolic activity of microbes, it might be cool to try to test something in this avenue as well!

Ultimately, this is your very own project and I'm glad that you found something that really excites you. When it comes to developing ideas for projects, it is always great to do a lot of research and expose yourself to different results and points of view in regards to your topic of interest--it will help you think of things that didn't initially cross your mind and can also stimulate your creativity! Let us know if you have anymore questions, and if you need any guidance when you come up with some ideas you'd like to try in regards to your project!

Best of luck,


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