Do You Know About the Germs You're Carrying?

Microbiology Science Fair ProjectWhile many students have explored school bathrooms, doors, and other surfaces for germ content, have you considered how backpacks, purses, wallets, and other such items can be a breeding ground for bacteria? We stumbled across this article from Today and thought, for students interested in microbiology, this might make a fun study and cool science fair project!

Really, to complete this project, all you'll need is a bacteria growing kit and sample surfaces! You may wish to determine which is the 'germiest' part of each item so be sure to test several different surfaces. For example, if testing your mom's purse, take a sample of;

  • the handle
  • the bottom of the bag
  • a pocket/compartment
  • her wallet and/or other items carried on a regular basis like a make-up mirror, lotion bottle, etc.

Similarly, when testing a wallet, make sure you get a sample of the outside, the money pocket, and perhaps even a credit card slot.

The Society for General Microbiology provides a great guide for observing your newly grown bacteria cultures, including a PDF printout of the various bacteria characteristics that can help you identify the types of bacteria growing on your sample surfaces. This lab from The Association of Biology Laboratory Education might also be helpful in identifying what you've grown!

We're sure this project will not only be informative, but will also gross out your friends and teachers!