1887

Microbes in Mascara: Hypothesis-Driven Research in a Nonmajor Biology Lab

    Authors: Kathryn M. Burleson1,*, Betsy M. Martinez-Vaz1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Biology Department, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 01 December 2011
    • Supplemental material available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: Hamline University Biology Department, Hamline University, Box 0182, 1536 Hewitt Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284. Phone: (651) 523-2692. Fax: (651) 523-2620. E-mail: [email protected].
    • Copyright © 2011 American Society for Microbiology
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.320
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    Abstract:

    In this laboratory exercise, students were taught concepts of microbiology and scientific process through an everyday activity — cosmetic use. The students’ goals for the lab were to develop a hypothesis regarding microbial contamination in cosmetics, learn techniques to culture and differentiate microorganisms from cosmetics, and propose best practices in cosmetics use based on their findings. Prior to the lab, students took a pretest to assess their knowledge of scientific hypotheses, microbiology, and cosmetic safety. In the first week, students were introduced to microbiological concepts and methodologies, and cosmetic terminology and safety. Students completed a hypothesis-writing exercise before formulating and testing their own hypotheses regarding cosmetic contamination. Students provided a cosmetic of their own and, in consultation with their lab group, chose one product for testing. Samples were serially diluted and plated on a variety of selective media. In the second week, students analyzed their plates to determine the presence and diversity of microbes and if their hypotheses were supported. Students completed a worksheet of their results and were given a posttest to assess their knowledge. Average test scores improved from 5.2 (pretest) to 7.8 (posttest), with p-values < 0.0001. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of students correctly identified hypotheses that were not falsifiable or lacked variables, and 89% of students improved their scores on questions concerning safe cosmetic use. Ninety-one percent (91%) of students demonstrated increased knowledge of microbial concepts and methods. Based on our results, this lab is an easy, yet effective, way to enhance knowledge of scientific concepts for nonmajors, while maintaining relevance to everyday life.

Key Concept Ranking

Selective Media
0.6654337
Nutrient Agar
0.59375
Sodium Chloride
0.50277215
Methylene Blue
0.50277215
Gram-Negative Bacteria
0.4714406
0.6654337

References & Citations

1. Anjur S 2011 Student-centered physiology in high schools Adv Physiol Educ. 35 161 167 10.1152/advan.00076.2010 21652501 http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/advan.00076.2010
2. Antignac E, Nohynek GJ, Re T, Clouzeau J, Toutain H 2011 Safety of botanical ingredients in personal care products/cosmetics Food ChemToxicol 49 324 341 10.1016/j.fct.2010.11.022 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2010.11.022
3. Arvidson C, Chen J, Foster D, Viswanathan P, Barney E, Guibord M 2009 Cultivation media for bacteria Available from the MicrobeLibrary website: http://www.microbelibrary.org/library/laboratory-test/2782-cultivation-media-for-bacteria
4. Brannan DK, Dille JC, Kaufman DJ 1987 Correlation of in vitro challenge testing with consumer use testing for cosmetic products Appl Environ Microbiol 53 1827 1832 3662517
5. Brannan DK, Dille JC 1990 Type of closure prevents microbial contamination of cosmetics during consumer use Appl Environ Microbiol 56 1476 1479 2339896
6. Casotti G, Rieser-Danner L, Knabb MT 2008 Successful implementation of inquiry-based physiology laboratories in undergraduate major and nonmajor courses Adv Physiol Educ 32 286 296 10.1152/advan.00100.2007 19047505 http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/advan.00100.2007
7. Davis BG 2009 Tools for teaching 2nd. ed San Francisco, CA Jossey-Bass (John Wiley & Sons)
8. Gorman W 2010 Stream water quality and service learning in an Introductory Biology class JMBE 11 21 27 10.1128/jmbe.v11i1.140 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v11i1.140
9. Handelsman J 2002 Microbiology as a change agent in science education ASM News 68 163 167
10. Hare JM 2008 Sabouraud agar for fungal growth protocols Available from the MicrobeLibrary website: http://www.microbelibrary.org/library/laboratory-test/3156-sabouraud-agar-for-fungal-growth-protocols
11. Lundov MD, Moesby L, Zachariae C, Johansen JD 2009 Contamination versus preservation of cosmetics: a review on legislation, usage, infections, and contact allergy Contact Dermatitis. 60 70 78 10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01501.x 19207376 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2008.01501.x
12. Marsh TL, Arriola PE 2009 The science of salsa: Antimicrobial properties of salsa components to learn scientific methodology JMBE 10 3 8 10.1128/jmbe.v10.93 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v10.93
13. Miller JD 2004 Public understanding of, and attitudes toward, scientific research: What we know and what we need to know Public Underst Sci. 13 273 294 10.1177/0963662504044908 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0963662504044908
14. The National Women’s Health Information Center Cosmetics and your health fact sheet 2004 Department of Health and Human Services Washington, D.C Available from www.womenshealth.gov/faq/cosmetics-your-health.cfm
15. Omoto CK, Malm K 2003 Assessing antibiotic resistance of Staphylococcus: Students use their own microbial flora to explore antibiotic resistance Am Biol Teach 65 133 135 10.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0133:AAROSS]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1662/0002-7685(2003)065[0133:AAROSS]2.0.CO;2
16. Palliser J 2010 Green beauty Science Scope. 34 8 11
17. Shields P, Tsang AY 2006 Mannitol salt agar plates protocols Available from the MicrobeLibrary website: http://www.microbelibrary.org/library/laboratory-test/3034-mannitol-salt-agar-plates-protocols

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2011-12-01
2019-03-25

Abstract:

In this laboratory exercise, students were taught concepts of microbiology and scientific process through an everyday activity — cosmetic use. The students’ goals for the lab were to develop a hypothesis regarding microbial contamination in cosmetics, learn techniques to culture and differentiate microorganisms from cosmetics, and propose best practices in cosmetics use based on their findings. Prior to the lab, students took a pretest to assess their knowledge of scientific hypotheses, microbiology, and cosmetic safety. In the first week, students were introduced to microbiological concepts and methodologies, and cosmetic terminology and safety. Students completed a hypothesis-writing exercise before formulating and testing their own hypotheses regarding cosmetic contamination. Students provided a cosmetic of their own and, in consultation with their lab group, chose one product for testing. Samples were serially diluted and plated on a variety of selective media. In the second week, students analyzed their plates to determine the presence and diversity of microbes and if their hypotheses were supported. Students completed a worksheet of their results and were given a posttest to assess their knowledge. Average test scores improved from 5.2 (pretest) to 7.8 (posttest), with p-values < 0.0001. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of students correctly identified hypotheses that were not falsifiable or lacked variables, and 89% of students improved their scores on questions concerning safe cosmetic use. Ninety-one percent (91%) of students demonstrated increased knowledge of microbial concepts and methods. Based on our results, this lab is an easy, yet effective, way to enhance knowledge of scientific concepts for nonmajors, while maintaining relevance to everyday life.

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Figures

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FIG. 1

Bacterial contamination of cosmetic products. Students dry-streaked cosmetic samples on nutrient agar and cultured them for 48 hrs. Plates are representative of student data: (A) mascara, (B) lip gloss, and (C) deodorant. Lip gloss and deodorant are the products that are most consistently contaminated.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.320
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Image of FIG. 2

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FIG. 2

Growth on selective media. Students serially diluted used lip gloss to a 10% dilution (row 1), 1% dilution (row 2), and 0.1% dilution (row 3) in Tween-Peptone and cultured them for 48 hrs on selective media as follows: NA plates (A, E, I), MSA (B, F, J), SDA (C, G, K), and EMB (D, H). Colonies consistently decreased in number with serial dilutions.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2011 vol. 12 no. 2 166-175. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v12i2.320
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