Couch Potato <3

Project by group camsdavispgstfall2020

Info

Explore Some things we know about potatoes are that they are root vegetables. Soft rot in potatoes have been caused by a range of bacteria around the world. It survives in soil, decaying plant debris, and in seed tubers. The infection occurs in skin damage on potatoes due to growth cracks or high soil...
Research Question Research Question: -Would a different type of water affect the growth of bacteria on the potato?
Predictions One of our predictions is that the saline water (salt water) will keep those potatoes the least affected by bacteria because salt water generally heals wounds and helps skin close, so it might work the same way with potatoes. In addition, salt absorbs moisture, which could help prevent the growth...
Experimental Design Our plan to inoculate 10 potatoes with bacteria from potato rot of a different potato and test how the type of water that covers the surface of each of the potatoes (via paper towel) affects the growth of the bacteria. The independent variable is the type of water used to soak the paper towels -...
Conclusion The sugar water made the bacteria of its three potatoes flourish the most compared to the bacteria growth of the other two water types tested. According to the observations, one of the sugar water potatoes had the strongest smell. The same one also had the darkest discoloured water around it and...

Updates

Get to know your team’s scientist mentor, who will encourage and guide you through the scientific process of discovery. The more you share your ideas and research info, the more your mentor can help. You may also hear from a scientist mentor liaison who will be helping all the teams in your class.
PlantingScience Staff
has been updated by administrator
Bridget
said

Thank you for guiding us throughout this experiment. Happy holidays!

- Bridget

Summer
said

Thank you for helping us with this project! You're input was invaluable, have a wonderful thanksgiving and break!

-Summer

CamilleV
said

Thank you for guiding us and giving us advice throughout this whole experiment. We've learned so much from all of this! Have a happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

-Camille

Jemimah
said

Thank you to everyone for being such great teammates! This project went so smoothly that I have nothing to better to compare it to. I feel lucky with how this all came together. Thank you, Julie for helping us with everything and making suggestions to either make our project better or when we were stuck. I hope everyone enjoys their break, Happy Thanksgiving!

Saying one last goodbye from me <3

-Jemimah :)

Ava
said

Thank you all so much for being a part of our experiment and helping us with everything! We really enjoyed this project and this time together, and we're all so sad that it's coming to an end. Best wishes for you and your families! Happy Thanksgiving and have a great holiday season!

-Ava <3

Julie Fowler
said

Hi all!

Thank you for your hard work this session! It was a pleasure to work with you all and please let me know if you have any questions about science generally or future college/career questions if this topic has made you more interested in science moving forward.

Congratulations and have a lovely holiday season!

Julie

Ava
said

I was able to upload the graph as a file, thank you for telling me how to lol. We got some peer reviews on our lab writeup and the only thing we decided to add is our data table, which lists the number of soft spots, dark or green spots, and the smell for every potato, every day. I'll see if I can upload that as a file when we finish that too. 

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Hi Ava!

    Thank you for the update and the graph! I'm really impressed by y'all's work and the presentation of the work through your write-up and graph. I think adding a table is a fantastic idea as well; tables are almost always used with this sort of work in a scientific journal article.

    Good job!

    Julie

Ava
uploaded The Effects of Different Types of Water on the Bacteria Growth on Potatoes.png in project files
    Julie Fowler
    said

    This looks great! Very easy to understand and a nice layout.

PlantingScience Staff
said

Farewell and Best Wishes

As this research project is now in the final stages of wrapping-up, we wish to thank everyone who participated in this inquiry; the students, mentors, teachers and others behind the scenes. We appreciate all of your efforts and contributions to this online learning community.

Scientific exploration is a process of discovery that can be fun! There are many unanswered questions about plants just waiting for new scientists to consider, investigate, and share.

After the end of the session, we will be updating the platform and archiving groups and projects, after which time new updates/posts will not be able to be added to projects or groups. You have until Tuesday, November 24, 2020, to post ALL of your updates, comments, and goodbyes. Please come back and visit the PlantingScience Project Gallery anytime to view this project in the future. You can search the Gallery by keyword, team name, topic, or school name.

Good bye for now.

Warm regards,

The PlantingScience Team

Ava
said

Hi Julie! We just finished our first draft of the lab report, so here it is! We have a graph but I can't put it on here but it's ok because we already summarized our data pretty thoroughly.

The Effects of Different Types of Water on the Bacteria Growth on Potatoes

 

 

 

We did background research on potatoes and potato rot, and after having tried making bacteria on potatoes as suggested and guided by our instructor, we listed all the variables we could test individually; we decided on experimenting on types of water because it was the most convenient and had the most promising results. From our experiment, we found that potatoes surrounded by sugar water grow bacteria the fastest and the most gross, potatoes surrounded by tap water grow bacteria almost as bad but not as quickly as those with sugar water, and potatoes covered in salt water do not grow bacteria nearly as quickly or as much as those with sugar or tap water.

The purpose of this experiment is to study the correlation between bacteria growth on potatoes and the type of water that those potatoes are surrounded by. This experiment can be useful in the real world because it can help potato-owners prevent bacteria from growing on their potatoes.

Salt water generally heals wounds and helps skin close, because of this, it can be assumed that the saline water will keep its potatoes the least affected by the bacteria. In addition, salt absorbs moisture, which could also help prevent the growth of bacteria because bacteria needs to have damp surroundings to flourish. On the other hand, sugar tends to be something that promotes bacterial growth (ex. yeast), so it can be assumed that the sugar water will make its potatoes’ bacteria flourish the most. Therefore, the sugar water potatoes will also have the most changes in data. Lastly, the tap water for the tap water potatoes theoretically won’t do much to promote or minimize the bacteria growth for them because tap water is generally filtered pretty well.

The materials required for this experiment include, but are not limited to the following: eleven potatoes, preferably of the same type (one potato for harvesting inoculum, one to act as a control, three potatoes for the sugar water variable, three potatoes for the saline water variable, and three other potatoes for the tap water variable). Ziploc bags are used to contain the potato: one big bag for the inoculum potato, and ten smaller bags to contain the other ten potatoes. It is expected that the inoculum potato will smell bad, so a smell-proof container can be used to contain the smell until the inoculum is used. Toothpicks are used to poke each experiment potato with the inoculum. The various waters are the independent variables needed to run the experiment while the paper towels are dampened with each respective type of water. Finally, face masks and plastic gloves are necessary to prevent contamination-bacteria-from getting on the potatoes and making the results inaccurate.

To collect the bacteria, or inoculum, cut one potato in half and place it in a ziploc bag with 50 milliliters of tap water for 3 to 4 days so that the water becomes potato-rot-water (we recommend also placing the bag in a smell-proof container). After the bacteria (inoculum) has been collected, begin to inoculate the rest of the potatoes. There should be 3 potatoes for each water variation, and one for the control as well. Wash the potatoes with tap water (as one normally would) and dip the toothpick in the inoculum and inoculate the potatoes with the bacteria using a toothpick to poke 4 holes in each of the potatoes (one on each end and each side). Make sure to dip the toothpick everytime you poke another hole in the same potato. When poking another potato, use a different toothpick (to avoid any possible contamination). Wrap each potato in a paper towel that is damp with its respective water selection and place each in a ziploc bag. The salt water can be regular store-bought saline water or you can make 0.9% solution following any online instructions. The sugar water solution can be made with one half cup of water as the solvent and one half cup of sugar as the solute (the sugar will weigh approximately 100g); dissolve the sugar in the water over a stove. Collect data (dependent variable) every day. On the final day, cut open the potatoes to observe if the dark spots look different on the inside.

After finishing the 7-Day routine, the saline water potatoes smelled the least rancid when compared to the other groups of potatoes. The sugar potatoes had the nastiest however, and tap water potatoes were smack in-between. Aside from the graph (see below), with the data gathered in the chart, where the potatoes were recorded daily, the sugar potatoes obtained the bad smell the most quickly and were also the first group of potatoes to develop green spots, which were factors that we did not anticipate when we started this experiment. The saline potatoes changed the slowest and also were the only group of potatoes that stayed on the same number on the Smell-O-Meter for 2 consecutive days. Overall, our data supports our original hypothesis.

The sugar water made the bacteria of its three potatoes flourish the most compared to the bacteria growth of the other two water types tested. According to the observations, one of the sugar water potatoes had the strongest smell. The same one also had the darkest discoloured water around it and was very mushy. This evidence is also presented on the graph that’s titled, “The Effects of Different Types of Water on the  Bacteria Growth on Potatoes”. The bacteria in the sugar water potatoes developed faster because they reached a level 11 smell by day 6, so they reached the maximum level of the Smell-O-Meter first. On day two, they made the largest jump from 1 to 4 on the smell scale, while the saline water potatoes only went from a 1 to a 3 and the tap water potatoes only went from a 1 to a 2. One of the sugar water potatoes was the only potato to have dark discolored water; all the other potatoes had yellowish water if it was discolored.

 

We have also updated our conclusion above, which is basically exactly what we wrote in the report.

Thank you! Have a nice day and fabulous weekend!

    Jessica Prosser
    said

    Hi! I just wanted to let you know that if you want Julie to look at your graph, you can upload the file to the file section of the project  :) 

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Hey folks!

    You guys did AMAZING! This is a great write-up, and importantly someone could read this write-up and recreate the experiment themselves. This is crucial in science. A scientific journal article (where scientific experiments are reported) always contains an introduction that describes related research, what is missing from the current research, and the questions the scientist would like to answer, then a methods section that describes what is done in such a way that another scientist could replicate the study, results which are all the numbers and graphs, and a discussion which takes the results and puts them into the larger context of science (why was the work important? what should people do differently with this new knowledge?). You all really hit all of these requirements, except maybe a bit of the discussion. What do you think would be one way someone could use this research in their daily lives?

    I'd love to see the graph if you can add it to the files!

    You all have done a great job during a very weird school year!

    Julie

PlantingScience Staff
said

Looks like you are in the final stages of your projects.

It’s great to see that teams from your school are wrapping up and posting conclusions. Enjoy the final stages of your project, and feel free to post any final comments or questions you have for your mentors.

Unfortunately, this session, we have a hard deadline of November 20, 2020, for final posts to be added, so please be sure to thank your fellow teammates soon!

CamilleV
said

Hello, 

We have updated our conclusion.

Thank you!

CamilleV
updated the project info
CamilleV
changed the project settings
Jemimah
said

Hello!

We are currently working on our lab writeup, we will give it to you once we've finalized it. We will also give you our data and the pictures that our data collector has of the potatoes throughout the entire week of data collecting. We are very close to being done!

Thank you :)

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Thank you for your updates! You all did a fantastic job so far and are great communicators. Let me know any way I can help!

Ava
said

 

Hi Julie!

    So we finished collecting data today, meaning we have an entire week’s worth of data, as we inoculated the potatoes last Friday. Here is a little summary of the results!

    The control potato, over the course of 7 days of observation, only reached a level 2 smell (which is really not that bad) and only acquired one tiny little soft spot.

    On Day 1, one of the tap water potatoes had one soft spot on the area it was poked, but other than that, no soft or dark spots on any of them, and the smell was level 1. A large green spot appeared on one of the potatoes and a large soft spot on another on Day 3, giving them all a level 6 smell. Finally, on Day 7 (today), the paper towels obtained a “highlighter yellow” color and all of the potatoes are extremely soft and squishy, drowning in yellow fluid. Samanta described one of the potatoes as “basically decomposed.” As of today, the tap water potatoes have acquired a level 11 smell, the highest on our Smell-O-Meter, which represents “worse than you thought anything could ever smell. ever.”

    Moving on to the saline water potatoes! On Day 1, these potatoes all had soft spots where they were poked, with a level 1 smell, and only one potato had an extra soft spot. On Day 2, the first potato acquired one dark spot and another acquired three dark spots, both giving off a level 3 smell. Today, Day 7, the saline potatoes have a level 8 smell, all have a lot of squishy spots (but not enough that the potatoes are falling apart), and they have yellowish-brown fluid pooling in the bags; apparently a bug was attracted to one of the potatoes!

    Lastly, the sugar water potatoes! On Day 1, two of the potatoes had softish spots where they were poked, but still had a level 1 smell. The first green spots developed on Day 2, on all three potatoes. The third potato smelled about 2 or 3 levels worse than the others for Days 3 - 6. And on the final day, Day 7, the first sugar potato is the only one that isn’t covered in gross fluids and has no soft spots, the second potato had the same one soft spot and wasn’t too squishy, but the third potatoes was “the worst” according to Samanta, was completely squishy, looked like it might have shrunk, and was covered in dark brown fluid; all the sugar potatoes have reached a level 11 smell today.

    We gave Samanta permission to ditch the potatoes today because they really stunk up the place. Now we just have to work on our lab report, filling in the details about the data and such. Let us know if you want us to give you some more data or if there’s something we should elaborate on!

Have a fantastic weekend!

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Hi all!

    Congratulations on finishing your data collection! You all did an amazing job. Sounds like y'all stuck to your methods, have some really interesting results, and you all are extremely good at communicating those results. That is one of the most important parts of science- you have to be a good writer and communicator.

    Please let me know if you all have any data you'd like me to look at! I look forward to seeing your report. Have you all ever done graphs in Excel? You could look at the change in number of spots or smell level for each water type for some nice visualizations!

    Thanks all, and great job!

    Julie

Jemimah
said

Hello!

According to what we currently have on our data, the sugar water potatoes seem to be the ones changing the most, while the saline water potatoes seem to be changing the least. For example, according to our data collector, the sugar water potatoes have the worst smell (7 out of 11 on our "Smell-O-Meter" ) so far. While the saline water potatoes have the least horrible smell (4 out of 11 on our "Smell-O-Meter") as of right now. For the tap water, it has a 6 out of 11 last we checked.

Thank you!

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Hi!

    This sounds great! You all have done a really good job at having consistency across your samples, with only the type of water varying. Length of time, number of pokes, type of inoculum, type of paper towel, etc. are all the same and that will allow you all to say with some confidence that any differences you see might be due to the type of water.

    I look forward to seeing your results!

    Julie

CamilleV
changed the project settings
CamilleV
updated the project info
Jemimah
said

Hello,

We have updated the predictions and experimental design.

Thank you, Happy Friday!

    Julie Fowler
    said

    Hi all!

    I just gave your predictions and experimental design a look and I think this is great! You all have a solid design and you should be able to complete this and have some interesting data. The only thing y'all should decide on now is how often/how frequently you will do the data collection and stick to that for every potato (every day, every two days, once a week, etc.). I would probably say don't wait too long between count times (we've all seen how quickly a vegetable can go bad even in our fridges!).

    I look forward to seeing the results and maybe we can graph some of the data to see how quickly the spots appear!

    Julie

Jemimah
said

Hello,

We have updated the predictions and experimental design.

Thank you, Happy Friday!

CamilleV
updated the project info
CamilleV
changed the project settings