Microbial control

I raised my hand often today until I realized I should just save my trivial pursuit questions until after class.

Q: Is a natural cleaning product more efficient than chemical cleaning product?

A: Depends on how clean you need things to be?  Vinegar is good enough for a household but if you were cleaning your lab, you would want it to be sterile to avoid cultures interfering with your projects.  In the lab, you would use something like bleach.

Q: Is liquid soap or bar soap better?

A: They are both the same in terms of ability to clean but a bar soap is more environmental friendly because liquid requires water.  Liquid requires more transport to the store – packaging, gasoline, etc.

Last week’s lab, we compared microbial growth of store bought “triple washed spinach” vs. meat, vs. a bag of lettuce.  Surprisingly, the triple wash spinach and the regular bag of lettuce had very little microbial growth and I wonder how many times it was cleaned with pesticides, chemicals, or water to arrive at the store without microbes attached to it.

After our lab on chemical vs. physical methods of controlling microbial growth, I walked down the hall with another student and said that was super interesting.  I have so many questions.  He said, I only learn what we need to know.  His comment made me really sad because that is the difference between community college vs. a 4 year college experience.  I find most students at cc, only learn what they need to know and don’t think/ask/go beyond what is asked of them.

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