Bacteria Near Your Mouth

By: Shebani,Srijaa & Neeraja

What is Bacteria?

Bacteria are tiny little organisms that are everywhere around us. They are unable to be seen without a microscope because they are so small, but they are in the air, on our skin, in our bodies, in the ground, and all throughout nature.

Objective

The objective of this experiment was to see how much bacteria is on the objects and things we touch on a everyday basis. For example: money, doors, laptops, and in this particular experiment, water fountains.

Background

Bacterial organisms can live in public places such as bathrooms, shower curtains, and toilets. Various studies were conducted to find out how dirty a water fountain spout is. Many found a large number of unclassified and pathogenic organisms. Do the water fountains at our school harbor a multitude of bacterial organisms? That's what we wanted to find out.

Experiment

Our group decided to test the water fountains in the school. Hundreds of students drink from the water fountains not knowing what is on the spout of the fountain. In order to test this, we took a petri dish and a cotton swab. We took the cotton swab and rubbed it around the spout of the water and then took the same swab and made a swivel pattern on the petri dish and let it sit in an incubator for about 2 days.

Results

There were 9 different types of bacteria and even mold growing on the spout.

So now what?

Not all bacteria is harmful; we need some exposure to help build our immune system to fight off illnesses. However, if there is a huge amount in one particular area (such as a water fountain), that is a concern as the chance of getting sick increases. This doesn't mean that you should never use a water fountain; it just means that you need to be careful.