Bacteria vs. Antibacterial Soap

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Tyler Fitzgerald
10/3/08

Science Fair Research Paper

The science project to be researched and experimented is whether bacteria can become resistant to antibacterial soaps. Bacteria will be grown in an agar broth containing .01%, .1%, .5% and 10% antibacterial soap. To fully understand the subject, information on everything necessary to conduct this experiment and comprehend the results was researched. Once the experiment is completed a conclusion will be able to be made as to whether or not bacteria can become resistant to antibacterial soaps The procedure for the experiment is as follows. Ecoli bacteria will be grown in agar broth with .01%, .1%, .5% and 10% concentrations of liquid antibacterial hand soap in test tubes. The agar broth is a nutrient enriched substance that allows the growth of microorganism colonies. Putting a single bacterium in an agar broth will allow it to reproduce and eventually create a full colony of such bacteria. This is because of the asexual reproduction of bacteria and the nutrient enriched conditions that allow bacteria growth and reproduction. The reason ecoli bacteria are being used in this experiment is because of its harmlessness. Ecoli, scientifically named escherichia coli, is grown in the lower intestine of most warm-blooded animals such as humans. It helps provide vitamin K to the body and prevents the growth of other potentially dangerous bacteria. The ecoli bacteria were discovered by a German pediatrician named Theodor Escherich in 1885. To grow the bacteria in the agar broth the only thing needed is for a small amount of the ecoli bacteria to be poured into the agar (after all even just one single microorganism can reproduce into a full colony). Once the bacterium is grown to its full potential the broths will be swabbed into Petri dishes with agar in them. The Petri dishes will be given time for the bacteria to grow. If the bacteria grows in any of the dishes it will be swabbed and placed into a new broth of a concentration one level higher. If this does happen then the steps will be repeated until the bacteria are no longer able to survive because of the antibacterial soap concentration being too high. If the bacteria does manage to survive in any of the concentrations that the first generation of bacteria didn’t survive in than this would be proof that bacteria can become resistant to antibacterial products. The results will be recorded daily. I will do this process three times to get more specific data. The brand of soap used in the experiment is dawn antibacterial hand soap because from prior experimentation it was proved to be the strongest.

The materials needed in the experiment are:
• Ecoli bacteria
• Agar broth
• pipette
• Dial liquid soap
• Notebook for recording info
• Goggles (precaution)
• Latex gloves (precaution)
• Inoculating loop

• Beakers
• Test tubes
• Agar Petri dishes

The whole concept of this experiment comes from the controversy of whether or not antibacterial products truly are creating “super-bacteria” that some day will become immune to antibacterial products. It’s been thought by many that the way antibacterial products are used today, its possible bacteria could acquire an immunity through a random mutation that allows them to do so. The problem with this is that medicine nowadays relies on antibacterial products to keep patients alive. The worry is we are just helping these bacteria become stronger at our households by giving the bacteria chances to develop immunity or a resistance to antibacterial products. If there was to be an antibacterial resistant strand of bacteria we would have no way of killing it and it could spread freely. Studies done by many have shown that it isn’t a problem that we use these products and other studies have showed the opposite. So by the results of this experiment...
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