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Which Fabric Best Inhibits Bacteria Growth?


Eugene Green

on 30 April 2015

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Transcript of Which Fabric Best Inhibits Bacteria Growth?

My hypothesis was somewhat off. While nylon, a synthetic fabric, did have the most growth, linen, a natural fabric, was not far behind. There may be other factors that affect how well material can prevent the passage of bacteria to the skin and its growth.
Petri Dish
Nutrient Agar
Spray Bottle
K-12 Strain
E. coli
Bacteria, when that word comes to mind, many people go straight to the most common answer—it is the cause of disease. While bacteria does not only cause illness—it actually is present in our body all the time and has functions that are essential and helpful to maintain life—it is a prominent cause of a lot of the more common diseases that are being spread presently. Fabric—used for the clothing worn and the sheets on the bed—is actually a host for bacteria. Of course, this is common knowledge, but because it is so obvious, it is rarely ever thought about. While shirts and underwear are washed daily and changed every day, some items such as jackets, sweaters, and pants may be changed and washed less frequently. This allows potentially harmful bacteria to burrow into the fabric and to multiply there. However, as some may know, all fabrics have different properties and these can affect how well bacteria can attach to this fabric. In this project, fabric will be tested to see how well it protects bacteria from growing and getting to our skin. If some fabric allows bacteria to grow more and doesn’t protect people’s skin well, well it may be time to wash those items a little more often.
Purpose & Hypothesis
The purpose of this experiment is to determine which type of fabric (natural versus synthetic) best inhibits bacteria growth and its passage to the skin. I hypothesized that the natural fabrics (cotton, linen, and wool) would do so the best.

There are a total of seven groups--six different types of fabric (all of which are listed above) and a petri dish that will have no fabric as barrier between the bacteria and the nutrient agar. The number of trials that will be completed are three, which will take about three weeks. The agar dish should be the first thing that is prepared as it takes several hours for it to be ready for experimentation.

1. All seven petri dishes should be set out, preferably on the edge of the table for ease when pouring the agar into the dish.
2. The agar is heated in the microwave so that it can liquify for easy pouring. Pour the agar into the petri dish until it's half full. Immediately place the top on the agar.
3. Each fabric type should be measured and cut into 2 by 2 inch sqaures. The E. coli is transferred to a sterilized spray bottle.
4. Wait several hours until the agar has solidified. Each petri dish is labeled with a permanent marker--Nylon, Denim, Satin, Wool, Cotton, Linen, and control.
5. Spray the bacteria, once, onto each fabric. Immediately place the lid back on top.
6. Petri dishes should be placed somewhere where it will not be disturbed.
7. Results of the experiment should be observed and recorded at the end of seven days.

Escherichia coli
‒ is in the Enterobacteriaceae family, is rod-shaped, and gram-negative. It is normally found in most warm-blooded mammals. The type used in this experiment was the K-12 strain (originally obtained from a diphtheria patient in 1922), which is one of the extensively studied microorganisms because of its industrial applications (specialty drugs and human drugs like insulin). It has also been widely used as a model organism in microbial genetics and physiology.

239, 221, 234

257, 261, 253
128, 120, 129
132, 149, 137

101, 97, 104
224, 227, 230
379, 383, 394

If the project were to be completed again, different fabric types could be used and different methods of colony counting.
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