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Name: Arlene
Status: other
Grade: 6-8
Location: IL
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
I found an experiment at the pbs.org/teachers website that evaluates different handwashing techniques by swabbing palms, nails, and in between fingers after different types of handwashing. These swabs are then "plated" on canned beets placed inside of a petri dish. Does this sound like a realistic and safe experiment for middle school students? NEWTON BBS does not recommend growing/culturing bacteria without the supervision of a microbiologist, and a properly equipped microbiology laboratory. Safety is our main concern! Growing dangerous bacteria species unknowingly is a real possibility and serious illness may occur without proper handling techniques. Furthermore, without proper bacterial disposal procedures such as an autoclave can guarantee, there is a danger to anyone who comes in contact after disposal.



Replies:
I will have to agree with the NEWTON BBS reply. Bacteria need to be

put in bio-hazard waste containers for proper disposal. If you happen to be dealing with bacilli, which are common soil bacteria, the autoclave might not be enough to kill Endospores.

Judy Luke



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