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Effect of Mold Growth on Different Types of Cheese

based on 29 ratings
Author: Maxine Levaren

Personally, I’ve always called the mold growing on cheese that’s been in my refrigerator for a while “my science project”. But what would it be like if you purposely grew mold for your science project?

Lisa Duong decided to find out! Her project display is shown in the figure.

Project display for “What type of cheese would grow mold faster in different types of conditions?”

Hypothesis

I think that mozzarella cheese will grow mold faster in a dark place and a warm temperature. I know that because mold grows faster in dark and warm conditions. I also believe that mozzarella cheese will grow mold faster than cheddar or jack cheese because a soft cheese has a shorter life than harder cheeses.

Experimental variables

  • Dark and warm temperature
  • Light and warm temperature
  • Dark and room temperature
  • Light and room temperature

Measured variables

The amount of mold that grows on the cheese

Controls

  • Brand of cheese
  • Size of sealable plastic bags
  • Size of boxes
  • Heating pad

Experimental groups

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese

Materials

  • 8 ounces of cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 8 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 knife
  • 2 boxes with a lid
  • 2 boxes without a lid
  • Fluorescent light
  • 36 sealable plastic bags
  • 1 permanent marker
  • 1 log
  • 1 heating pad
  • 1 ruler
  • 1 pair of gloves

Procedures

For each sample:

  1. Measure and cut 16 pieces of each type of cheese, 2 x 2 centimeters.
  2. Seal one sample in each of the 16 sealable plastic bags labeled with the type of cheese as follows:
    • * 4 labeled “dark + room temperature”
    • * 4 labeled “dark + warm”
    • * 4 labeled “light + room temperature”
    • * 4 labeled “light + warm”
  3. Place bags labeled “light + warm” in a box with no lid and put box on a heating pad under a fluorescent light.
  4. Place bags labeled “light + room temperature” in another box with no lid and put it near the fluorescent light.
  5. Place bags labeled “dark + warm” in a box with a top and put it on top of a heating pad under a fluorescent light.
  6. Place bags labeled “dark + room temperature” in a box with a lid.
  7. Every three days, observe and record how much the mold grew.
  8. Take pictures of all the samples and label them.

Results

The results of this project were shown as photographs and drawings of the amount of mold grown on the cheese samples.

Conclusions

My hypothesis was that mozzarella cheese would grow mold faster in a dark place and a warm temperature because mozzarella cheese is a soft cheese and mold grows more rapidly in soft cheese than hard cheese (like cheddar).

This hypothesis was incorrect because the Monterey Jack, which is harder than mozzarella cheese, grew mold more rapidly at room temperature.

I could improve on my project the next time by using more kinds of cheese at different temperatures.

If you try a project like this, with four experimental variables and three experimental groups, you’ll have an easier time if you work with one experimental group at a time.

Also, note that Lisa did this project using gloves and sealed containers. She also observed the proper handling techniques designated by the California State Education Code.

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