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Creating controlled environment...without a lab

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:10 pm
by amnc11
I do not have access to a lab. I would like to test the growth of mold/bacteria on food items with varying preservatives. (I am testing different processes for preservation.)

How can I make a controlled environment for my project so I can do this testing?
My goal is to come out with results that would be of ISEF quality. The testing will be done with agar plates, etc.

Thank you so much for helping me. Tell me if you need more information.

Re: Creating controlled environment...without a lab

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:13 pm
by davidkallman
Hi amnc11,

Is your project:
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p016.shtml ? If so, following the project outline gives a good project.

I'm not sure what you mean by ISEF quality. Could you please explain? Thanks.

You can use the variations on the project page to make the project more interesting.

Re: Creating controlled environment...without a lab

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:49 pm
by amnc11
My project outline is pretty similar, thank you for the link.

I want my results to be iron clad. But I am afraid that my house, with it constantly varying temperature/humidity, is not a proper setting to test foods for freshness or bacterial growth.

To rephrase: Do I need a lab to test for bacterial growth on food? Will my results be uncredable (in the slightest) because they were not done in a controlled (reproducible) setting?

I appreciate your help.

Re: Creating controlled environment...without a lab

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:55 pm
by amnc11
By ISEF quality I mean:

Testing that is so reliable and sophisticated that it is commonly seen at the ISEF level.

Re: Creating controlled environment...without a lab

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:21 pm
by davidkallman
Hi amnc11,

Guidance about ISEF competitions is at:
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ndex.shtml
Look under "Advanced Project Guide".

Though, of course, make sure you've covered the regular topics on this page before you address the advanced topics.

I don't know if a home environment is suitable. One way to test is run the experiment multiple times and see if there is an unexpected variation in the results.