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The Type of Food that

Allows Mold to Grow


the Fastest

Group I
BS Accountancy II - 23

Afable, Alexia Jane


Alambra, Jocelyn
Almarez, Francis Jeo
Alvarez, Lovely Joy

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ABSTRACT

This experiment, entitled "The Type of Food that Allows Mold to Grow the Fastest", aims
to determine what type of food molds the fastest. The materials the researchers used were,
tomato, lemon, salami meat, cheese, white bread, sealed containers, and a small cabinet to put it
all in. This was done by putting all the materials in the same place and temperature and letting it
stay there for at least fourteen days.

The data presented in this report will show which food allowed mold to grow the fastest
at the same time and temperature. You will have to check the foods at the same time each day
while paying sheer attention to see which has molded and which ones haven't.

The researchers discovered that the type of food that allowed mold to grow the fastest
was the food group dairy foods, where cheese is categorized. The cheese molded the fastest for it
contains milk which is a catalyst for decomposition.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE

I. Title Page 1
II. Abstract 2
III. Introduction 4
IV. Experimental Apparatus and Procedures 6
V. Results and Discussions 10
VI. Conclusions and Recommendations 12
VII. References 16

INTRODUCTION

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In order for some foods to stay fresh and edible, they need to be refrigerated or else they
will go bad. And failure to refrigerate foods of certain types may lead to the growth of mold, a
type of fungus.

According to United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and Mold
Bacteria Facts, mold (or mould) is a term used to refer to fungi that grow in the form of
multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called
yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in
biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes. It is
also found in damp building materials where it often appears like stains and comes in a variety of
colours. A must smell is an indication of microbial growth even when there is no visible growth.
If mold is allowed to grow in homes or offices, it can contribute to poor indoor air quality. Some
molds such as the Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans, are highly destructive. For more details
about dry rot fungus read Occurrence and Significance of Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans.
Mold growth requires moisture. The sources of moisture could be washing, cooking, air
humidifiers, condensation or leaks from plumbing or from the outside. Poor ventilation
contributes to higher humidity levels and leads to condensation, which also allows mold growth.

Molds release small spores into the air. So, when mold grows indoors, the number of
mold spores and fragments is usually higher indoors than it is outdoors. These spores are small
enough that people can actually inhale them deep into the lungs. Inhalation of spores poses risk
of developing respiratory problems. With the exception of winter months mold spores are
always present outdoors.

Mold & Bacteria Consulting Laboratories stated that though it is true that people may eat
moldy food without harm, the major reasons why eating moldy food is dangerous is because
such food is likely to be contaminated with mycotoxins. Luckily, molds that produce toxins (also
called toxigenic molds) require certain growth conditions to produce the toxins and hence
presence of these molds on food does not necessarily mean the food contains mycotoxins.

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There is also a high risk of food poisoning caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus
aureus, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio
parahaemolyticus, Bacillus cereus, and Entero-pathogenic Escherichia coli.

Classifying the foods to be used in this experiment into five major groups, namely
vegetables, fruits, lean meats, grain or cereal food and dairy foods, what type of food do you
think will mold the fastest when placed in a cabinet together at a given temperature? What type
of food will go bad first? When you think of dairy foods (the researchers used cheese for this
category), you think most of these require refrigeration. When put to the test along with white
bread, salami meat, tomato and lemon, which will mold the quickest? To know this is very
essential for there are some molds that may cause unbeneficial effects to the body if eaten.

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EXPERIMENTAL APPARATUS AND PROCEDURES

1. Prepare all of your sample foods.

In the preceding experiment, we come up to use tomato, lemon, salami meat,


cheese and white bread as our sample foods. In the experiment, we made use of natural
foods and processed foods to clearly distinguished whether or not the classification of
food matters when it comes to where the molds grow faster.

2. Take pictures of the food as it appears when fresh.

It is relevant to take pictures of the sample foods before the experiment to have
basis on what are the changes held on the food after performing the trial. It serves as a
guide and a clear evidence of the alterations took place to come up with the conclusion
and result of the experimentation.

Tomato Lemon

Salami Meat Cheese

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White Bread

3. Take the tomato, lemon, salami meat, cheese and white bread and put them each on
sealed container. Place your samples in a cabinet. All of them must be in the same
place and at the same temperature.

Every home has areas with different temperatures and humidity levels. Your
bathroom, for instance, is a humid spot. If your home has an attached garage, it's
probably cooler than inside your house. The inside of a dresser drawer that's rarely
opened has a different environment than the kitchen. The windowsill on which the sun
shines every morning is much different from the damp, dark cellar.

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Temperature is an ample factor to where molds grow hence in the experiment,
same place with the same measurement of temperature (room temperature) is used to
avoid error in the result instead to draw on the most accurate result.

4. Observe and record changes of the sample foods for 14 days or 2 weeks time.
Document your findings.

Try to look at the bags at about the same time each day in order to allow fairly
equal growth time. Record everything you notice about the contents of each of the sealed
container and be sure to write down as many observations as you can each day. If you see
a bit of mold growing on one piece of bread, for instance, and a lot of mold growing on
another, the amount of mold and what it looks like, and anything else you might see.
Documenting such things, even how petty it would be, turns out to be a useful guide in
the fully understanding of the topic and coming up with an accurate result.

Tomato (With Molds) Lemon (With Molds)

Salami Meat (With Molds) Cheese (With Molds)

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White Bread (With Molds)

5. At the end of two weeks, dispose all of the sealed containers in the kitchen trash bag.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

What type of food do you think will mold the fastest when placed in a kitchen cabinet
instead of the refrigerator? Many foods need to be refrigerated in order to stay fresh and edible.
The question is, what type of food will go bad first? When you think of dairy foods, you assume

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most require refrigeration. When put to the test along with tomato, lemon, salami meat, cheese
and white bread will mold the quickest?

After 14 days of observing, and recording data by measuring the area covered by mold every
day, the researchers found out that cheese, which belong to the food group: dairy foods, molded
the fastest.

4
Tomato Lemon Salami Cheese White bread

0
Day 3 Day 7 Day 10 Day 14

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1- No molds at all

2- 1%-14% molds in the food


3- 15%-30% molds in the food
4- 31%-45% molds in the food
5- 46%-60% molds in the food
6- 61%-75% molds in the food
7- 76%-85% molds in the food
8- 86%-100% molds in the food

We can interpret from the graph that the cheese molded the fastest within 14 days.
From day 3 the cheese already got 33% molds in it, 55% molds in day 7, 76% molds in
day 10 and 86% molds in day 14. While the white bread is the lowest or the slowest food
that molds can grow, only 30% of the salami have molds at the end day of the
experiment.

The researchers were able to determine the type of mold that grew on each food
type through direct plating method. Direct Plating Method is a means of phage growth
and enumeration that involves both phage and bacterial application to the surface of
an agar slab as found within a Petri dish. Upon conducting the said method the following
mold types were found: for the tomato - tomato leaf mold (Cladosporium fulvum), lemon
- lemon green mold (Penicillium digitatum), salami meat (Penicillium nalgiovense),
cheese - blue mold (Penicillium roqueforti), white bread common bread mold
(Rhizopus stolonife).

Other method used in testing or determining the amount and type of molds in the
food was surface testing. Surface testing takes samples from foods surface to find the
amount of mold growth and spores deposited around the food. Samples are collected by
swabbing, tape lifting or other methods. The sample is then examined in a laboratory and
later examined under a microscope.

Cheese is produced after milk is separated and processed into a substance called
curd. Curd is then processed and aged in different ways to give cheese its flavor and

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texture. Many forms of cheese also contain forms of mold which are beneficial to our
health. Blue cheeses and Roquefort cheeses are prime examples.

Maybe we are thinking why molds grow faster in cheese than the other food and
slowest in the potato chips. It is because there is a lot of nutrition that can get from
cheese. The more natural the food, the more it is hard for the mold to grow. And we know
that potato chips have so many preservatives so thats why.

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CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

1. On the experiment Which food will mold the fastest we used the following
samples:

Tomato
Lemon
Salami Meat
Cheese
White Bread

2. Then we also took pictures of it before doing such experiment and after

Before: from left (Tomato, Lemon, Salami Meat, Cheese, and White Bread)

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3. Next is we sealed the following samples in the container.

4. Then we let it stay for about 2 weeks (14 days)

After:

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Now we can conclude that the cheese has the most molds in it, its because molds
grow fastest in warmish temperatures, on cheeses that have been exposed to air and
moisture. Furthermore, mold also grew on cheese because there is a lot of nutrition
present in the said food for it to grow. There is a trick to keeping the mold off the cheese,
and this is to prevent the cheese from being exposed to air. In some cases, this is done by
painting the cheese with wax. In some cases, it is done by soaking the cheese with salty
water, which dries out the rind of the cheese, making it less attractive for mold to grow.
An alternative used by cheese makers is to scrape the mold off from time to time.

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Moldy cheese comes in two types. Some have mold that grows over the surface,
usually a white mold such as what appears on brie. Some have blue or green mold that
grows in the interior. This is done by running thick needles through it so oxygen can get
into the interior. In either case, the cheese has to be exposed to the proper mold.

Some people think that cheese is moldy milk, but it is not. Most cheese has no
mold. Most cheese is made from milk through the action of bacteria, but not all. Mold
and bacteria are not the same thing. Some of these have mold on them, but the ones that
do mostly have either white penicillium mold (as on brie) or blue or green penicillium
mold (as on blue cheese).

Some cheese is not even fermented; examples are queso blanko and gjetost, which
are made with heat and acid, and a variety of cheeses are prepared with rennet, but
without bacteria.

And also we can see that the chips are not easily molded, and the main reason of it
is the preservatives. And I was expecting that the bread will be molded faster compared to
the cheese.

There is no problem conducting the research, another way to improve the


experiment is to change the variables, like for example, putting the sample in different
places or situation and changing the time allotted to it, whether make it longer or shorter.
Or use different samples.

REFERENCES

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http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.html [U.S. EPA "A Brief Guide to Mold,
Moisture and Your Home]
https://www.education.com/science-fair/article/which-food-will-mold-fastest/
[Which Food Will Mold the Fastest?]
http://www.homefamily.net/2011/07/16/mold-and-cheese-the-good-and-the-
unsafe/ [Mold and Cheese: The Good and the Unsafe]
http://www.moldbacteriafacts.com/what-is-mold/ [What is Mold?]
https://www.moldbacteria.com/mold/what-are-health-effects-eating-mouldy-food-
feeds.html [The Risks of Eating Moldy Foods]
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/ask-an-expert/viewtopic.php?
t=3253 [Ask an Expert: Why does cheese mold?]

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