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Kate Bruce

Mrs. Stevens

Physical Science

12 December 2018

Is There More Bacteria on a Toilet Seat, Toilet Handle, or a Faucet?

Have you ever wondered what the dirtiest part of your bathroom is? I wanted to figure it

out. I wanted to know which appliance should be cleaned most frequently. For my experiment, I

measured the amount of bacteria in three different places in the bathroom. ​ I thought that if I took

bacteria from a toilet seat, toilet handle, and sink faucet, then a sink faucet would have the most

bacteria.

How Does Bacteria Grow?

Most bacteria can adapt to all conditions and temperatures, but it grows best with certain

conditions. Bacteria need nutrients and get it from sunlight using metabolic methods. It also

needs a source of water. Bacteria grows best at a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. Some bacteria need little to no

oxygen, but others need a lot. It grows best with temperatures from 40 degrees F to 150 degrees

F (​Taylor). The area should be protein rich, warm, and moist. Only some bacteria thrive in

extremely cold and hot environments (Lesson). In all, bacteria grows the same way we do by

eating things it likes (Gaunt).

How Do You Raise Bacteria Groups on a Petri Dish?

There is a very specific way to raise bacteria on a petri dish. First, put 10 microliters of

bacteria into a test tube. Transfer 10 microliters of that into a 90 microliter test tube. Then, repeat

and mix. Put 10 microliters of the solution onto an agar plate. Repeat with two other plates, and
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put it in an incubator. The colonies should be visible in 16 hours (Lesson). Keep everything

sterile and spread the agar onto the petri dish (Gaunt). Doing this will bring the best results.

How Do You Measure Bacteria Growth?

There are a few ways to count bacteria growth. To directly count bacteria, use a

hemocytometer or a counting chamber. Hemocytometers work by creating a volumatic grid

divided into different sized cubes. This will show the most precise results (Boundless). Another

way to measure bacterial growth is by plating. Plating is when you take a bunch of bacteria and

dilute it over and over. Place it on a petri dish and then count the colonies. Each bacteria will

form one culture (Wintermute). The easiest way to measure bacteria is by the size of the culture.

Everyday, check it with a microscope or magnifying glass (Gaunt).

How Can Bacteria Be Beneficial?

Bacteria can be very beneficial. The bacteria an organism’s skin, airways, and digestive

system protect them from catching diseases. Bacteria in the digestive and respiratory system help

the immune system too. These types of bacteria help regulate the respiratory and digestive

systems. Bacteria also breaks down carbohydrates and protect cells from invading pathogens.

Bacteria can also be found in food, such as yogurt (Gaunt). When there is a healthy amount of

good bacteria in the body, it will actually help keep bad bacteria out (Yttri). Bacteria decomposes

dead animals and plants to obtain their nutrients. This is why dead organisms aren’t laying

around. Bacteria is also in lots of food, such as yogurt (Gaunt). In all, bacteria can be very useful.

What Factors Affect Bacterial Growth?

There are many key elements that affect bacterial growth. On of the important factors is

nutrient concentration. If the culture is rich in nutrient concentration, the bacteria grows faster.
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Temperature is also another key factor. Bacteria needs to grow in an area that has healthy

temperature from 50 to 150 degrees fahrenheit. If the bacteria is in an area above that

temperature, cellular enzymes and proteins denature. If the bacteria is in an area below that

temperature, the cell membrane will solidify. The pH levels can also affect bacterial growth. The

pH should be from 6.0 to 8.0. The pH affects ionic properties, and most grow at neutral (Karki).

The area bacteria is growing in should be warm, dark, and moist (Gaunt).

How Can Bacteria Be Harmful?

Even though most bacteria can be beneficial, it can also be harmful. Bad bacteria is called

a pathogenic. Pathogens can invade the cells of an organism, which can lead to diseases. Poor

hygiene and unclean water lead to bacterial infections. Bacteria invade living tissues inside

people. Harmful bacteria can cause some forms of pneumonia and strep throat (Gaunt).

Penicillin reduces the number of deaths by bacterial infection (Bacteria).

I thought that if I take bacteria from a toilet seat, toilet handle, and sink faucet, then a

sink faucet will have the most bacteria, and I found out that I was correct,​ and a sink faucet does

have the most bacteria. The average amount of bacteria on a toilet seat was 0.6 cm. The average

amount of bacteria on a toilet handle was 0.3 cm. The sink faucet had an average amount of 0.5

cm. It proved how dirty bathrooms already are. This experiment proved to me that I should clean

the sink faucet much more then I actually do.


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Works Cited

“Bacteria – Good, Bad and Ugly.” Science Learning Hub, 2008,

www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/588-bacteria-good-bad-and-ugly.

“Boundless Microbiology.” Lumen Learning, Lumen Learning,

courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-microbiology/chapter/counting-bacteria/.

Gaunt, Terry. “Science Fair Interview.” 26 Nov. 2018

Karki, Gaurab. “Factor Affecting Bacterial Growth -.” - A Complete Notes for Students, 28 July

2017, ​www.onlinebiologynotes.com/factor-affecting-bacterial-growth/​.

“Lesson 1e - What Conditions Encourage Bacteria to Grow?” Iowa State University,

www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsafety/L1.6​.

Taylor, Stacy. “What Three Conditions Are Ideal for Bacteria to Grow?” Sciencing.com,

Sciencing, 9 Mar. 2018, sciencing.com/three-conditions-ideal-bacteria-grow-9122.html.l

Wintermute, Jake. “Course 2: Your First GMO – Synthetic Biology 1.” Synthetic Biology 1,

syntheticbiology1.com/courses/your-first-gmo/.
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Yttri, Jennifer. “Bacteria: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” National Center for Health

Research, 28 Mar. 2017, ​www.center4research.org/bacteria-good-bad-ugly/​.