Saturday, July 2

Are bacteria jumping on my toast?

Students worked with pipettes, droppers, microscopes, and other laboratory equipment. | INFORMATION

Can I pick up a piece of toast that has fallen on the floor and eat it later without risk of infection? Can a coin thrown from the top of a skyscraper kill me? Is there a way to cheat the probability to win at gambling? These are other questions asked by the FECYT, body dependent on the Ministry of Science and Innovation led by Pedro Duque, and that led three teams from this Benidormense IES to measure themselves with another 223 and 1,115 adolescents from institutes throughout the country.

Eva María Tirado, Irene Font, Mekbeb Lucía Hernández, Sofía Martínez, Marta Reverte, Adriana Crespillo, Ana Martínez, Roberto Casagrande, Aitana Bengoechea, Javier Llorens, Clara Antón, Claudia García, Basem Kharraz, Claudia Ivars and Victoria Casares are the fifteen people from Benidorm who have participated in the project, led by professors Enrique Megía (Physics and Chemistry) and Laura García-Spain (Biology and Geology). “We raised the challenge and the students signed up voluntarily. They came to the laboratory in the afternoons, outside of their school hours, and were involved to the point of taking charge of themselves choosing the topics, thinking and bringing all the materials they might need for the experiments, … “, he explains the teacher, who also highlights that all participants reached “a level well above their courses.”

What are the conclusions?

As stated in the contest rules, the students chose two of the challenges posed by the FECYT: that of the vitamins in the juice and the one known as the «5-second rule», according to which if a food falls to the ground and remains In it less than 5 seconds, it can be consumed without problems since it has not remained long enough to suffer contamination by bacteria or other microorganisms.

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For the first, the students squeezed oranges, lemons and kiwis to study, through the use of a compound with iodine, if they maintained the same volume of vitamin C as soon as they were squeezed and after 10, 20, 30, 45, 60 and 90 minutes. They observed that, although vitamins are reduced as time passes, it is not until 24 hours later that they disappear completely. For the second, they used different foods, such as sausages, ham, bread or apples. After dropping them on different surfaces and for different periods of time, they were placed in a petri dish and placed in the culture chamber at 36º to favor the growth of microorganisms. Finally, they let them grow for one and seven days and discovered that the more moisture a food has and the dirtier the soil is, the more microorganisms will appear, regardless of whether they were on that surface for 3, 5 or 10 seconds, although from a Now they did develop bacteria equally.

All the conclusions were shared in a few scientific posters with QR codes linked to videos where they explain the whole process. In addition to receiving a batch of educational resources, in September, if the health situation allows it, they will go to Madrid to participate in a scientific mini-conference of this Foundation where they will present their results. Likewise, Laura García-Spain points out that all of them have won the most important award: “Get out of the theory of books and discover for themselves that the scientific method can be applied to any day-to-day situation.”

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