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Abstract

This science fair project was done to compare the amount of germs found in the places that we touch. The testing was done by obtaining samples from the handle of a shopping trolley, computer keyboard, the button/handle of a water cooler, buttons on a lift, and a door knob.

Hypothesis

Continuously damp places such as the button/handle of a water cooler will have the highest amount of germs.

Scientific Terms

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

Background

Germs

Germs are microscopic organisms that are found everywhere around us. They consist of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. Most germs are able to survive on surfaces for as long as a few hours to a few days, before they are transferred to our hands and body when we touch .

Germs like bacteria are able to obtain nutrients that are needed for their survival, directly from their environment. Most of these bacteria are harmless to us. They help us digest our food and also protect us from other harmful germs. Bacteria are also used to produce vaccines and medications. Some bacteria called pathogens are harmful and can make us ill.

Another type of germ, the virus, is dependent upon a host in order to survive. Outside of the host, they are able to survive for only a short period of time. However, once they inhabit a host, viruses will multiply and cause damage to the host’s body cells and make the host sick. Viruses are responsible for diseases like the common cold and AIDS.

Yet another type of germ is the multi-celled fungi. Unless a person has a very weak immune system, fungi are quite harmless to humans. Protozoa are single celled organisms that live in humid conditions and cause infection by contaminating water.

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

The bacteria should be destroyed before it is disposed of, by pouring bleach into the petri dish to kill all the bacteria before disposing of them in the trash. Alternatively, use a proper biohazard disposal bag.