Growing mold for science experiments will capture your audience's attention, and studying mold is an excellent way to learn more about ecology and biology. Whether you're looking to grow mold on food, or want to try a more adventurous project like slime mold, make sure to use normal precautions such as using gloves when handling samples.
This experiment compares how fast mold grows on different types of foods kept in many American homes. Some of the foods are generally kept in refrigerators to extend shelf life, while others are commonly stored at room temperature.
This is a great project for a first-time science fair participant, and kids can understand the concepts as young as kindergarten. This one requires advanced prep though, as the food will take at least a week to grow any mold, and it will take several weeks before you will see lots of mold growth. In your log book, you'll want to record your results. While there are no specific ways to do this, the following suggestions will help:. This experiment shows that certain foods grow mold faster than others, which is one reason why these foods are often kept in the refrigerator.
What are other ways that people keep mold from growing? To take this experiment a step further, change the conditions of your experiment:. There are lots of different variations to this experiment, so make sure that you plan well in advance so you have time to try a variety of things.
Mold is a type of fungi, which is a living organism not classified as an animal or plant. Mold feeds on organic plant or animal matter, and requires mold spores, food carbon-containing organic substancesmoisture and proper air temperatures to survive and reproduce.
For this experiment, you'll test different surfaces near and around your home for the presence of mold spores. The experiment is best done with middle or high school students who have learned how to work with agar and petri dishes. While you may want to grow your samples for awhile, you should start to see mold within a week of collecting a sample. It's important to keep the plates as sterile as possible. Consequently, read the directions first so you have a thorough understanding of what you're going to do, then work as quickly as possible anytime you have a swab or dish uncovered.
Work with one dish at a time, collect the sample, and then place the Petri dish in the spot where you'll keep them for observation before going on to the next dish. You'll want to observe your mold growth at intervals. While there are no hard and fast rules as to how to do that, you may want to try the following ideas for your project:.Make sure no one has access to the cabinet where the samples will be stored during the experiment.
What type of food do you think will mold the fastest when placed in a cabinet together? Many foods need to be refrigerated in order to stay fresh and edible. The question is, what type of food will go bad first? When you think of dairy foods, you think most of these require refrigeration. When put to the test along with bread and bananas, which will mold the quickest? It is important to know as some molds can make you very sick if eaten. Bookmark this to easily find it later.
Which Food Will Mold the Fastest?
Then send your curated collection to your children, or put together your own custom lesson plan. Please note: Use the Contact Us link at the bottom of our website for account-specific questions or issues. My Education. Log in with different email For more assistance contact customer service. Preschool Kindergarten 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th.
Entire library. Science projects. Which Food Will Mold the Fastest? Science project. Share this science project. Safety Issues Make sure no one has access to the cabinet where the samples will be stored during the experiment. Download Project. Grade First Grade - Fifth Grade. Science Life Science.
Thank you for your input. Objective To see what kind of food, left un-refrigerated, will mold first. Project Goals To leave food out to see which one will mold first. To see what foods need the least refrigeration. Materials and Equipment Banana Cheese Milk Bread A cabinet in which to place the samples for one week Paper and pencil Camera Introduction What type of food do you think will mold the fastest when placed in a cabinet together?You run into the kitchen after a hard morning on the soccer field, and you're so hungry you can't wait to eat.
You grab the bread from the bread drawer and the cheese from the fridge. You get some juice and some potato chips, and you're ready to make a yummy cheese sandwich-your favorite! But when you pull out a couple of slices of bread, you find that there's something green and disgusting growing on them. And then you notice that the cheese is covered with little white spots.
What the heck is it? It's mold. It not only looks gross on foods, some kinds of it can make you sick if you eat it. Where did it come from? How did it get on your bread? Is it growing on any other foods in your house? It wasn't on the chips. Or in your juice, either. But what about those cookies you stashed under your bed a week or two ago?
Or the beef jerky your brother keeps in his desk drawer? Will those foods be moldy when you go to retrieve them? The facts are that molds grow better on some foods than others, and that various factors contribute to their growth. You'll be learning a lot about molds in this section. Are you ready to get started? In this project, you'll be trying to figure out on what kinds of foods, and under what conditions, molds grow best. Working in an orderly, organized manner, you'll conduct an experiment that will help you to solve the problem.
You'll learn a lot about molds as you work through this project. You'll find out, for instance, if they prefer light or darkness, wet foods or dry foods, and heat or cold. You may be able to figure out when you've finished why there was mold on the bread and cheese you planned to use for your sandwich, but not on the potato chips. Or you can think up your own title, or use one of these:.
Once you've got a clear idea of the questions you'll be trying to answer, keep reading to learn a little bit more about mold, and to think about the point of this science fair project.
Why do we care about how mold grows? Or care about mold at all, for that matter? Wouldn't it be better to just ignore this mold business and hope it goes away? For starters, scientists think that molds have been around for about three billion years, making it highly doubtful that they'll disappear anytime soon.
Second, the study of molds has led to much knowledge and many benefits, including the discovery of penicillin, a medicine obtained from a mold called Penicillium notatum.Mold grows on different foods at different rates. There are also different kinds of molds that certain pieces or types of food are prone to. Research mold and how it grows on foods that are moist versus foods that have been kept in a dry, cool place. This experiment will help you learn more about mold by watching it grow.
Write out a conclusion in your notebook. The conclusion should explain whether your original hypothesis was correct or incorrect and why. Use a reference book from the library or go online to find pictures of the different kinds of molds. Identify each mold that was found on each food.
In your summary, include information on why certain molds grow on certain foods, and why some foods mold faster than others. Use the notes from your journal to chart the progression of the mold on graph paper. If you took photos, the combination of the graph and the photos make a nice display for a science fair.
Bright Hub Education. Skip to content. Getting Started Mold grows on different foods at different rates. Materials: Five glass jars with tight lids — empty baby food jars will work well for this, but any glass jar will do. Also make a guess about how quickly the mold will begin to grow. Wet each piece of food and place it inside a jar. Each piece of food must have its own jar and must be completely sealed.
Label the jars. Even though you can see through the jars in the beginning of the experiment, you may not be able to identify the food once it begins to mold! Check the jars every couple of days and record what is happening in each jar. Be sure to record the first time you see evidence of mold and what the mold looks like. Keep updating the notebooks every day with clear descriptions of how much more mold there is from the day before.
If a camera is available, it helps to take pictures of the progression of mold, which you can then display at a fair or use in your classroom presentation. If you do not have a camera available to you, make sure your notes are as detailed as possible. Continue recording daily until the food has a significant amount of mold on it.
Mold in and of itself is not bad. Some molds can even be beneficial, but on the other hand other molds can be extremely dangerous to your health. Mold is a fungus that lives on plants and animals, and is typically microscopic individually. It is when numerous fungi form colonies that it can be seen with the naked eye.
Foods that grow fungi contain spores that give mold its coloring. Moreover, mold is often invisible until the bacteria have been on the food for a period of time, at which point you may have already ingested it.
Certain foods are notorious for getting moldy quickly, and that is largely due to their composition and storage methods. Moist, warm conditions are breeding grounds for mold, and therefore juicy foods or those that welcome moisture are the most likely to become moldy quickly. These foods include breads that are left in the cupboard or on top of the counter as opposed to being refrigerated, cheeses, and fruits and vegetables that are left for long periods of time in the refrigerator or out on the counter.
The timing in which bread molds has a lot to do with the water content. Some breads are dryer than others, such as Indian bread and pitas. Other breads have higher water content, such as breads containing fruits, white and wheat bread, and some brown breads.
The breads that are dryer have a much longer shelf life; those that are frequently moister can have a longer shelf life by storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Cheeses, much like breads, depend upon their water source and bacteria present at the time of creation to determine how quickly they will mold.
Cheeses with a lot of moisture, such as ricotta, cottage cheese and other soft cheeses, are most likely to mold very quickly, as bacteria will be able to grow easily. Hard cheeses such as Parmesan will remain healthy and keep their taste much longer than cheddar or mozzarella. In some cases, a healthy mold is grown on the cheese on purpose, as with bleu cheese, since it is what provides the cheese with its strong flavor. Fruits and vegetables should typically be consumed within a few days of purchase to avoid ingesting mold.
Refrigerate produce and check it prior to eating, as sometimes mold can be in one area of a fruit or vegetable and not another. Again, moisture and temperature play a large part in the quickness to mold. As moisture allows bacteria to breed, juicier fruits and vegetables, such as peaches, plums, tomatoes and cucumbers, are more likely to get moldy quicker than are those with harder peels and rinds, such as bananas, apples, peppers and squash.
You can cut off moldy parts of harder fruits and vegetables and use the rest of them, but you should consume them right away if you do. Pin Share Tweet Share Email. Growing Conditions. MadSci What's Cooking America. Show Comments.Mold is the name given to the a specific type of multicellular fungi.
There are thousands of species of mold and mold spores are found in the air and sometimes in the water. These spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but are easily visible with a microscope. When a group of mold grows on an object such as food the mold can be easily seen. If you ever wondered why food goes moldy, continue reading to find out. Why does mold grow on food? We already know that mold spores are commonly found in air.Never Eat The ‘Clean’ Part Of Moldy Bread
This means that it is very likely that food will come into contact with them. Although this is not usually a problem, in certain situations this can cause large colonies of mold to grow on food.
For this to happen the mold requires moisture, nutrients and the right temperature. When mold is exposed to these conditions the spores germinate and the colony of mold begins to grow.
The prime conditions for mold growing a usually found at room temperature, and this is why fruits and vegetables left on the counter often go moldy more quickly. The reason we store food in the refrigerator is to slow down the growth of bacteria and mold on our food. However, there is certain species of mold that are quite capable of growing a large colony on food inside refrigerators.
This is why it is important to keep your refrigerator clean and discard old food. Not all mold growing on food is dangerous, but it is never recommended to eat moldy food. At the very least, it will change the taste of the food and make it less appealing. Some people believe that cutting off the mold makes the food safe, but there is likely to be other colonies that cannot be seen. Your email address will not be published. Have a Question? If you have a question you can search for the answer below!
Want to Know it? Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply.Mold spores are everywhere, and many strains grow on food. The spores anchor in bread, cheese, meat and fruit and grow into fruiting bodies that appear as dark, sometimes fuzzy blotches. Some benign strains, such as Penicillium roqueforti, which grows on blue cheese, are actually desirable, but others can cause allergic reactions. Some strains produce mycotoxins and aflatoxins, which can make you sick.
Mold grows inside food as well as on the surface, so it isn't safe to simply cut it off. Unless you're making or storing cheese, it's best to discard moldy food.
This Easy Science Project Charts How Fast Mold Grows on Different Foods
Mold needs four things in order to grow: water, food, suitable air quality and temperature. Food that contains any kind of water or fluid is susceptible to mold growth.
In addition, mold can only grow if it has food readily available to feed itself and grow. Mold is a fungus that feeds off of dead or dying organic matter, and can be destructive to your health and food quality.
Mold will grow best in damp, dark and cool conditions, but can also grow in warmer temperatures as well. Mold grows best between 55 to 70 degrees Celsius. Tiny mold spores are all around us in the air, which is not harmful to our health in moderation. Once a spore lands on a surface, it searches for water and nutrients to feed off of.
Food is able to grow mold easily because it is often kept in the perfect environment to foster mold growth. The temperature is usually about right, air quality is good, and the food itself provides the nutrients and water the mold needs in order to grow.
As the spore takes root, it begins to spread and create more spores and spread quickly on the surface of your food. Some molds can take over your food in a matter of 12 to 24 hours, while others may take weeks.
Mold can be very dangerous if eaten. Mold is perhaps most common on bread, cheese, and fruits and vegetables left out in the kitchen. Eating mold on any item has the potential to make you very sick. Simply cutting off the moldy part does not render the food safe to eat. Mold has the ability to penetrate deep into the food and not just fester on the surface. If you do spot mold on your food, it is best to inspect the entire serving and not just one spot. In addition, if the food you are eating is part of a package of multiple servings, you should check all of them — mold can spread very quickly and infest an entire package of food.
Lauren Farrelly has been writing and producing for television since About the Author. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd.