Many people tend to find mold growing on bread disgusting. But, did you know that mold is also one of nature's cleansers, that breaks down dead organic materials and recycles these nutrients back to the soil, which makes it essential for the ecosystem?
Mold is a type of fungi, which grows on any plant or animal material. Mushrooms and toadstools are a type of fungi. Mold grows on food and other organic matter, and thus, breaks it down into slime by which it extracts nutrient for its growth. This is many times studied in school with a simple experiment.
Bread Mold Project
To study the growth of mold on bread samples every alternate day, for a course of 2 weeks.
If you are allergic to mold, then avoid performing this experiment or use mask and gloves for safety. Seek permission from your parents and teacher before you start with the experiment. Also, after you are done noting down the results of the experiment, dispose off the bags containing moldy bread safely, without opening them.
Here is a list of materials you will need to perform the experiment.
- 5 slices of bread
- 5 transparent sealable bags
- A mask
- Sticky labels
- A marker
- Magnifying glass
- 5 - 7 cotton swabs
- A tablespoon
- Lemon juice/water/apple juice/salt/sugar (at least two of these items are required)
Growing mold can be a simple experiment, and performed on a slice of bread. However, to make it interesting and more detailed you can work on 5 samples of breads rather than just one. So, gather the above equipment and follow the below steps.
- Take the cotton swabs and run them over areas which have dust, like under a table, bed, or basement.
- Then rub the dust from cotton swab over the first bread slice.
- Repeat steps 2 for the other four bread slices.
- Seal three bread slices inside three transparent sealable bags.
- Put sticker on the three bags, and write down using a marker on them.
- On the first sticker write "Sample #1 - Dark Closet"; on second write "Sample #2 - Refrigerator", and on the third write "Sample #3 - Under Light".
- So, keep the first sample in a dark closet, second in a corner of the refrigerator where it doesn't gets disturbed, and the third one in an area of the house which is most of the time brightly lit.
- Now, take the remaining two samples. Before you seal them in the bags and mark them with sticker add one of the above mentioned five items to them. For example, on the fourth bread sample you can add some salt, while on the fifth you can add 2 tablespoons of water. Keep these two sample in a place where they don't get disturbed.
Wear mask and gloves whenever observing the bread mold samples. Make sure you observe the five bread samples every alternate day at a fixed time of the day, say 2 pm. It is important that you observe them every alternate day without fail, and note down your observations in a table. You can note down their physical appearance like color, shape, amount of growth per day, texture, etc. Another column of your table can be observations of the mold under the magnifying glass. If you want, you can take videos or pictures of the mold every alternate day. This will help in concluding your experiment.
If you are performing this experiment at home, then you might not have access to a microscope. However, when this experiment is performed in school many times the students are asked to observe the mold under a microscope. Note down, the appearance of the mold under the microscope, this can form a part of the observation. Usually, one sees thread like structures on top of which there is a circular shape. Here is a diagram of bread mold in detail.
You will observe different conclusions for different samples. The mold which was kept in a warm, dark, and moist condition will grow the best. However, the sample that was in the refrigerator will have a slower growth. Also, substances like salt tend to slow down the growth of bread mold. Conclusion is an important part of the experiment, so make sure you read your observations carefully before you put down the appropriate conclusion of the project. Here are pictures of mold growth on different types of breads.
Once you have tried out this experiment, you can try out further experiments using different materials. You can try growing mold on different types of breads, while maintaining the same temperature. You could also try adding more moisture to the slices of the bread, or use different amounts of lemon juice and sugar on the slices. This way you can vary one element, and note down various observations of the mold growth. So, select a hypothesis and using the appropriate materials perform the experiment again. You can also consider growing mold on soft fruits. Here are pictures of mold growing on a lemon, few strawberries, and a tangerine.
Interesting Mold Facts
The above experiment will help to study bread mold in detail. Here are some fun facts about mold that will add to your knowledge.
Mold is used by various companies to make food and medicine.
Did you know that mold is added to flavor certain cheeses? You can observe blue-gray veins on a piece of blue cheese, which appear due to the mold added to it.
Lichens are formed due to an awesome partnership between fungi and algae.
There are over 10,000 species of mold!
Did you know that outdoors, mold is almost everywhere?
To prevent mold from growing on foodstuffs, the food industry spends a lot of money on refrigeration.
I hop you enjoyed reading the above facts on mold. So, gather the equipment necessary for the experiment, perform the experiment, note down the observations every alternate day, and draw the appropriate conclusion. Good luck!