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Bacteria and thawing methodsFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

The aim of this science fair project is to find out which method of meat thawing leads to the least amount of bacteria contamination. This experiment is conducted by thawing the meat over the counter, in the refrigerator and using the microwave oven.

Hypothesis

Meat that is thawed in the microwave oven showed the least bacteria contamination.

Scientific Terms

Bacteria, pathogens, food-borne diseases, contamination, microorganism

Background

Bacteria in the meat

Although most bacteria are harmless to humans, some of them are disease-causing. Pathogens are bacteria that can cause illnesses. Food-borne illnesses occur when pathogens enter our food. Bacteria can be found in any kind of food but they  have a tendency to flourish in of protein rich foods like meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products.. The food that we purchase is commonly already contaminated by bacteria, but this problem is easily solved by properly cooking our food.

Meat can be kept in the freezer for long periods of time without getting contaminated. It needs to be thawed before cooking. The most common method of thawing is to leave the meat at room temperature for a few hours . However, the longer the meat is left outside the freezer for thawing, the more bacteria contamination  it experiences. Other methods of thawing are by leaving the meat  in the refrigerator or by using a microwave.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
2 day for preparation, 5 days for science fair project
Material availability:
Access to laboratory equipment (eg. petri dishes)
Safety concerns:

Always follow laboratory safety guidelines and always practice sterile technique when handling microbes. Never have any food or drink at your workstation and always thoroughly wash your hands with disinfectant soap or alcohol before leaving your workstation. Always dispose of used material in a biohazard bag. If none are available, the bacteria should be destroyed with bleach before being disposed of.