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How to Grow Mold

based on 22 ratings
Author: Jennifer Penn-Chiu

Grade Level: 8th; Type: Microbiology

Objective:

Students will discover whether mold grows faster in dry or moist conditions.

Research Questions;

How does mold grow?

Most people think of nasty and negative thoughts about mold. But do you know that some types of mold are beneficial? Take penicillium, for example. It is used to produce penicillin, an ingredient needed to make antibiotics which kills off certain kinds of harmful bacteria in the body. And some molds are even edible.

Prolonged exposure to mold may lead to health and respiratory problems in people in weak immune systems and underlying health problems. Most kinds of mold should pose no danger to a healthy individual, especially when only exposed for a short period of time and/or at tiny amounts. However, some types of mold that are caused by flooding and severe water damage may jeopardize health.

Materials:

  • 3 pieces of expired,stale bread (not moldy yet, but just past the best-by date)
  • 3 plates with a cover
  • A squishy sponge
  • A bathroom (probably the moistest location in the house)
  • Labels & markers
  • Paper and pencil for notes

Recommended for safety

  • safety mask
  • rubber gloves

Experimental Procedure:

  • Take one piece of bread and place it flat on a plate, cover with a clear lid. Put a label on the lid (without obstructing your view) and label it “A”. This piece should be left in a dry location.
  • Dampen a sponge and put it on a plate. Set the 2nd piece of bread on top of it and cover. Leave this plate near the 1st. Label it “B”.
  • With the 3rd piece of bread, follow step 1, but instead of placing it at the dry location, take it and place it in the bathroom. Label it as “C”. Please make sure no little hands get to it and no one eats it (but why would anyone...)...!
  • Record your observations for the progression of mold growth day by day for at least 1 week or until you observe a sufficient amount of mold. Are there any differences in mold growth and patterns? Be sure to take photos.
  • After the experiment, record your results. Which piece of bread had the most mold and/or the fastest growth?
  • Properly dispose of the moldy bread after the experiment. Do not consume nor intentionally sniff the mold.

Chart

 

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7

Bread #1- Dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread #2- Damp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bread #3- Condensed Moisture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms/Concepts: Mold; Fungi

References:

Mold. (2010, November 6). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 00:44, November 8, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mold&oldid=395180101

http://www.epa.gov/iedmold1/moldcourse/chapter1/lesson5.html

http://www.cdc.gov/mold/

Madigan M; Martinko J (editors). (2005). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (11th ed.). Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131443291.OCLC 57001814.

Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 633–8. ISBN 0838585299.

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