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Let's Grow Fungus: Best Science Experiment!

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July 10, 2012
Why not experiment something new this weekend!! Let's try this wacky yet interesting Science experiment for growing fungus!
 
What all you would need? 

- 4-5 food jars with lids
- 2 glass hot water
- One packet of unflavored gelatin
- Marker
- Masking tape
- Cotton string     

How to do this experiment?

1. Firstly, sterilize the jars with hot soapy water to make sure that bacteria shall grow from the samples you collect and not from the jar. Also clean the jars by pouring boiling water into each jar. Simply drain the hot water from the jars and let them dry. Follow the same for lids also.

2. Now add two glass of normal water to the gelatin and mix well until it gets properly dissolved in the water. Pour the gelatin mixture into the food jars until each jar is half-full. Put the left-over gelatin aside for later use. You should note that gelatin is used because it serves as a food for your molds later on. Molds grow pretty well on gelatin because of its high protein content.

3.  Place a lid on first jar and use masking tape and marker to label it "Control."

(Note: 'Control' serves as a standard of comparison in any science experiment. By being sterile, this particular jar will let you compare changes happening in other jars, which will later be filled with yucky fungus and germs.)
 
4.  Cut 4-5 pieces of string (each about 10 inch long). Dip each string into the remaining gelatin.

5.  Hey! It's time to get really wacky! Drag these gelatin-covered strings in different corners of your house and obviously on your body as well. Collect bacteria from your nails, your dog's litter box, your toilet potů etc. Etc.

6. Now place these collected samples in different jars and label each jar from where the sample is collected. Place a lid on each jar.
 
7.  Try to write down a hypothesis, or use your guess power- which places will grow molds most quickly?
 
8.  Within a 3-4 days or a week, you shall have a variety of molds growing in these gelatin filled jars.
 
 
What you will discover after a week?
Loads of colonies of bacteria could be easily seen growing in all the jars except the one labeled "control."
 
Why this happened?
Bacteria are one-celled microscopic organism whose presence can be seen just about everywhere--in water, soil, air, skin or living things. On the other hand we use gelatin because it provides a culture medium, or specially-prepared nutritious substance, on which bacteria could be seen growing into a visible colony. There are very high chances that you won't find any bacteria present in the jar labeled 'Control'. This happened because you have sterilized the 'Control' jar properly.
 
Now have a look at your hypothesis. Did you correctly predict which places would grow molds most
quickly?
For more interesting findings, you can also explore new approaches to this science experiment. For example: how does temperature affect the growth of bacteria? You can try this by Labeling each jar "warm" and "cold," and placing the "warm" jars in a dark, warm place (like near a radiator) and the "cold" jars in a dark, cool place like a refrigerator. Wait for few days and see the difference in both the jars.