Discipline: Biological Sciences
Michelle McPherson - Garden City Community College
One can find a sponge sitting near the kitchen sink in most households though many do not realize that this cleaning tool may be a breeding ground for harmful organisms. Multicellular filaments called hyphae create tiny spores and grow on moist substrates, thus forming what most people know as mold. Mold requires an atmosphere with moisture and nutrients in order to be thrive, consequently finding the unassuming kitchen sponge a place in which it can flourish. What would be the best solution to rid a sponge of these potentially hazardous molds? In this experiment, non-antibacterial sponges are used in an identical way for a period of time, cut into equal pieces, and placed in a dark humid environment to incubate. After incubation, individual sponge pieces will undergo different treatment variables to sanitize each mold-colonized sponge. There are seven variables which include microwaving, freezing, boiling, sun drying, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) treatment, desiccation, and the sanitize cycle of a dishwasher. The control sponge is left untreated during the trials. Following treatment, the sponges will be tested by measuring mold colony growth on a sterile agar plate. It is hypothesized that the sponge treated with the sodium hypochlorite solution will produce the fewest number of colonies. Further research will explore the effectiveness of treatment with less harsh chemicals, such as a mild acetic acid (vinegar) solution as well as identification of the species present in the agar plate.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to thank Will Friesen and Laliker for help in this field.
Faculty Advisor: William Friesen, email@example.com