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A comparison on the contamination of wet and dry foodFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

The objective of this science fair project is to determine the type of food wet or dry food that is most prone to germ contamination. The experiment will be carried out by dropping a slice of cucumber (wet food) and a piece of cheese cracker (dry food) for 20 seconds at various locations.

Hypothesis

The slice of cucumber will be most prone to germ contamination.

Scientific Terms

Germs, microscopic organisms, bacteria, fungi, virus, protozoa, vaccines, immunity

Background

Germs

Germs consist of various types of microscopic organisms such as bacteria, virus, protozoa and fungi. Although germs exist everywhere around us, they can only survive for a few hours or days on a surface. These germs will be transferred to our hands and bodies when we touch or come in contact with these surfaces.

Bacteria survive by obtaining nutrients that they need from their surrounding environment. Some bacteria are beneficial to humans, as they help us digest our food and protect us from other harmful germs. However, bacteria such as pathogens are harmful to us and will cause diseases. Vaccines are medicines that act against bacteria and enhance our immune system.

Viruses are another component of germs, and are dependent on a host to survive. In the absence of a host, viruses can only live for a short period of time. However, once they encounter a suitable host, they will enter the cells of the host and replicate inside the host cells. This process leads to illnesses, such as the common cold and aids, in their host.
Two other types of germs are protozoa and fungi. The former is a single-celled microorganism that exists in humid conditions and infects others through contaminated water, whereas the latter is a multi-celled organism and is quite harmless, unless the person in contact with it has a weak immune system.
 

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
Preparation will require one day, while observation and recording of data will be carried out over a period of three days
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. Proper safety measures must be followed when handling the knife.