Science with Shields: Episode #34 – Potato Germs


ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — In this episode of Science with Shields, Christy Shields shows you how germs grow on potatoes.

What you need: 

  1. Gloves
  2. Knife
  3. Potatoes
  4. Plastic Bag
  5. Sharpie
  6. Tape


    First, take plastic bags and write on them where you are going to rub your potato at. Also write on one bag “control.” We put our potato on hands, a dirty shoe, a doorknob, and in the dirt outside. Wash your hands and then put on gloves. Next, you want to have an adult safely cut the potatoes in half. Stick one half of a potato right into the bag that says “control” without putting it on any surface. Take the rest of the potato slices and rub them on the surfaces you picked and put them into the corresponding plastic bags. Take the gloves off and now tape your plastic bags into a dark and dry closet. Check on the potatoes after a week and observe, what is happening. Wait a month and bring them out of the dark space and see what happened! Observe which ones have mold growing on them and which do not.

    What happens here is that germs that you typically need a microscope to see, grow so big when you wait a month that they are now visible. If you look at what happened, you’ll notice that the shoe and the one that was outside is growing the most mold. This means that this had the most germs. If your hands were dirty, this will also be one with the most germs. Make sure to compare these to the control. The control is how many germs will spread on just a potato without changing its environment.

    Check out more Science with Shields episodes on WTAJ Plus.

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