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Abstract

This science fair project was done to ascertain the amount of bacteria on chopping boards. The science project experiment involved using wooden and plastic chopping boards.

Hypothesis

Wooden chopping boards have less bacteria compared to old plastic chopping boards.

Scientific Terms

Micro-organisms, bacteria, capillary action

Background

Chopping boards

Chopping boards are an essential item in any kitchen. They are used to cut meat, vegetables, fruits or bread. Chopping boards need to be kept clean in order for them to be used safely. It is best to separate the chopping board used for cutting meat, from boards used for cooked food and food that is to be eaten immediately like bread, fruit or fresh vegetable salads. This is to prevent cross contamination.

Both wooden and plastic chopping boards are safe to be used as long as they are properly cleaned. However it is believed that wooden chopping boards are safer because any bacteria on the surface of the board will be pulled into the wood by capillary action. The bacteria will be unable to multiply once it is inside the wood and eventually they will die.

Plastic boards are not porous and therefore have surfaces that are easier to clean. However, under normal usage, scars will be left on the board's surface and this creates a place for the bacteria to grow and multiply. Therefore old and scarred plastic chopping boards should be disposed of as soon as signs of damage/scarring appears.
 

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 5 days for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

The bacteria should be destroyed before it is disposed of. Pour some bleach into the petri dish to kill all of the bacteria before disposal.