SILVER

Is the 5 second rule real?

Testing to see if the 5 second rule is real or a myth.
Mason Clark
Grade 6

Hypothesis

Hypothesis.

 

I think the 5 second rule is going to be a myth, because I feel the germs will attach onto a surface of food as soon as it hits the ground.

Why you CAN eat food after it's been dropped on the floor: Doctor busts the  five-second rule myth | Daily Mail Online

 

Research

What is the 5 second rule?

 

The 5 second rule is when you drop food on the ground, then a person nearby you would call out “5 second rule!” 

Next the person who dropped the food on the ground will have 5 seconds to pick it up believing it is free from germs and safe to eat.


UpFrontGames-5 Second RuleWhat Happens If You Eat Food That Fell on the Floor? | Prevention

 

 Who came up with the 5 second rule?

 

The 5 second rule is based on a murky legend. In a book called “The book “Did you just eat that?” talks about the traces of the 5 second rule coming from times of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Ruler. The Mongol Ruler is rumored to have implemented the “Khan Rule” at his banquets. 


The Origin Of 'The Five-Second Rule'

 

Does blowing off the germs on the food help?

 

Blowing off the germs will do nothing except add more bacteria from the blowers mouth onto the food that was dropped on the ground then picked up.

 

 

What type of germs can get on your food?

 

You could become sick regardless of how quickly you pick up your food off the floor. There is always the chance that bacteria, like Salmonella, could be playing host on your floor. Some of the common bacteria on the floor is Bacillus, Micrococcus, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus.

Salmonella

 

14 common types of indoor bacteria

Aspergillus

  1. Acremonium

  2. Alternaria

  3. Aspergillus

  4. Aureobasidium 

  5. Chaetomium

  6. Cladosporium

  7. Eurotium

  8. Fusarium

  9. Mucor

  10. Penicillium

  11. Stachybotrys

  12. Trichoderma

  13. Ulocladium

  14. Wallemia

Penicillium and Mucor

 

Is the 5 second rule related to double dipping?

 

If you double dip a chip, you contaminate the bowl of dip with bacteria. If you drop food on the ground, pick it up and eat it thanks to the 5 second rule, it is full of bacteria. They are different scenarios but the formation of germs and bacteria is the same result.


Scientists Study What to Do If You Drop a Cookie on the FloorIs Double-Dipping a Food Safety Problem or Just a Nasty Habit? - Scientific  American

 

 

Variables

Variables.

Microbes in our homes: Dangerous or not?

Manipulated variable: Time interval, type of food dropped.


 

Responding variable:  Amount of germ content.


 

Controlled variables:  Area of ground and same size surface area of food. Incubation period of all petri dishes will be the same along with the Nutrient Agar Solution inside of them.  Sterile cotton swabs will be used for all contact tests.



 

Procedure

Procedure: 

 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1A_HUjqL5lR137_Wl55bXn5lZ7TNi3oW9NTiYkTEgLX4/edit

 

Procedure: Preparing the Agar

 

1.                                                                          2.                                                          3.

 

Procedure for all food tests: 

 1.                                                          2.                                                                           3.

 

 

 

 

Observations

Day 4 Observation - GUM

 

  • Gum - 1 Second on the Ground

    • One big white spot of bacteria with little white spots already showing.

  • Gum - 5 Seconds on the Ground.

    • Little white bacteria spots showing, but not as many as the 1 second Gum drop.

  • Gum - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • 2 large white bacteria spots showing as well as several smaller white spots.

    • More spots in this petri dish compared to the other two time intervals.

 

Day 4 Observation - GUM

 

Day 4 Observation - CHEESE

 

  • Cheese - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Some white bacteria spots with tiny red spots showing inside of them.

    • 1 giant red spot also formed.

  • Cheese - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Only tiny bacteria white spots appearing.

    • Looked like the same amount as the one second Cheese drop.

  • Cheese - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • Not many bacteria spots showing at all.

    • Only one white reddish spot noticeable.

 

 

Day 4 Observation - CHEESE

 

Day 4 Observation - APPLE

 

  • Apple  - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Many mini-sized white bacteria spots forming.

    • Larger spots were growing near the sides of the petri dish.

  • Apple - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Strange hair shaped bacteria showing.

    • One dark yellow spot with some triangular shaped white spots.

  • Apple - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • Some common looking white bacteria spots showing.

    • One of the spots looked dark grey in color. 

 

 

Day 4 Observation - APPLE

 

Day 8 Observation - GUM 

 

  • Gum - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Orange, red, brown and yellow spots of bacteria growing.

    • 1 big white spot appearing.

    • More of the strange bacteria hairs still growing.

  • Gum - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Some of the spots of bacteria from before are now getting bigger.

    • Little strange hairs of bacteria containing the color red, orange and yellow.

    • Otherwise, not to much activity in this petri-dish.

  • Gum - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • Small black spots of bacteria growing. Looks as small as a bread crumb.

    • The small white spots from before is now increasing in size. Beginning to look bigger.

    • Strange shaped hairs of bacteria growing. Commonly in most of my tests. 

Day 8 Observation - GUM 

 

Day 8 Observation - CHEESE

 

  • Cheese- 1 Second on the Ground

    • 2 big pink spots of bacteria growing. Along with little red and white spots starting to grow.

    • 1 dark spot in the corner of the petri-dish.

    • Lots of white spots growing. 2 of the white spots are expanding.

    • Weird red and white shaped giant spot, looking like 3 spots into 1 giant red and white spot.

  • Cheese - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Little red, orange, and yellow hairs of bacteria.

    • 1 white spot growing and 1 yellow spot growing as well. 

  • Cheese - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • The small white spots from before is now increasing in size. Beginning to look bigger.

    • Strange shaped hairs of bacteria growing. Commonly in most of my tests. 

 

Day 8 Observation - CHEESE

 

Day 8 Observation - APPLE

 

  • Apple - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Giant white spots growing. A yellow spot is starting to grow.

    • Strange hairs of bacteria is also in Apple.

    • 1 of the white spots is containing a small orange spot inside of it.

  • Apple - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • 2 massive yellow spots and 1 big orange spot of bacteria.

    • Strange hairs of bacteria still there.

    • Little white spots noticeable.

  • Apple - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • Grey spot of bacteria is at the bottom of the petri-dish.

    • Green mold starting to grow. Strange hairs of bacteria still appearing.

    • Weird shaped spot, looking like 3 white red spots into 1 weird shaped spot.

Day 8 Observation - APPLE

 

Visual Observations of the Fastest Growing Bacteria on Day 8

gum

 

 

cheese

   

apple

 

 
 

1 second

5 seconds

30 seconds

Day 15 Observation - GUM

  • Gum - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Still the same orange, yellow, white and brown spots of bacteria. Noticing grey spots.

    • All the spots from before getting much bigger.

    • Agar has turned into a greenish-yellow color.

  • Gum - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • White spots of bacteria is showing more on the petri-dish.

    • More yellow spots growing on petri-dish. Agar is a mild yellow.

    • Smells odd. Last time didn’t smell but now it does.

  • Gum - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • The petri-dish is taken over by massive white spots of bacteria.

    • Some yellow spots showing, there is still mostly white spots though.

Day 15 Observation - GUM

 

Day 15 Observation - CHEESE

 

  • Cheese - 1 Second on the Ground

    • Small black spot of bacteria has grown a ton. Smells like mold.

    • White spots of bacteria has expanded. Some orange and red spots. Agar has turned into a yellow.

    • The weird red spot from before has expanded into 2 weird butterfly wings.

  • Cheese - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Yellow spots of bacteria filling the petri-dish.

    • Black spot has grown(mold). Agar is a mild yellow.

    • Red, white and orange spot. Smells strong. Little strange hairs of bacteria still noticeable. 

  • Cheese - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • 3 giant white spots of bacteria showing. Grey spots appearing.

    • Smells like a strong smelled moldy cheese. Agar is a yellow-orange color. 

Day 15 Observation - CHEESE

 

Day 15 Observation - APPLE

 

  • Apple - 1 Second on the Ground

    • White spots of bacteria has expanded. Filled with dark, grey red spots inside.

    • Agar is a dirty white. Smells decent, still not perfect though.

    • 1 of the spots is a black plain spot, but the outer part of the spot is a greyish brown.

  • Apple - 5 Seconds on the Ground

    • Brown and white spots of bacteria. 1 tiny yellow spot.

    • One of the brown spots from before is now a extremely red spot.

    • Agar is a dark yellow. Smells a bit strong.

  • Apple - 30 Seconds on the Ground

    • To the bottom left of the petri-dish, it’s a dark brown.

    • Interesting spot, it’s a dark grey outside of the spot. Then inside of the spot it’s a brownish black.

    • Little bacteria hairs, again. Agar is a dark yellow. Smells normal.

 

 

Day 15 Observation - APPLE

 

Visual Observations of most amounts of Growing Bacteria on Day 15

gum

5 seconds

30 seconds

1 second

cheese

5 seconds

1 second

30 seconds

apple

5 seconds

30 seconds

1 second

 

Most visual bacteria

In between

Least visual bacteria

 

Visual Observations of Most Variations of Growing Bacteria on Day 15

most

5 seconds

1 second

5 second

middle

1 seconds

5 second

1 second

least

30 seconds

30 seconds

30 seconds

 

gum

cheese

apple

 

By looking over my chart I observed the most different variations of bacteria attached and grew at only 1 and 5 seconds on the ground. 

Overall, the most bacteria I also noticed was with the 1. Cheese 2. Gum 3. Apple

 

Analysis

 

 

REAL LIFE ILLNESSES

Types of Mold/Bacteria found in my petri dishes

 

By looking over my petri dishes  I observed Penicillium Fungus, Aspergillus and Mucor bacteria as the most common.

Penicillium Fungus: There are over 200 kinds of this mold. Symptoms: headaches, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, coughing, sneezing and rashes.

Aspergillus: There are different types of Aspergillus, so they can cause different symptoms. Some symptoms are asthma, runny nose, headache, cough, more severe can be coughing up blood and shortness of breath.

Mucor: This is a allergic type of mold. Side effects can be that it can trigger asthma attacks, cause difficulty breathing even in healthy people.

 

By looking over my chart I observed the most different variations of bacteria attached and grew at only 1 and 5 seconds on the ground. 

Overall, the most bacteria I also noticed was with the 1. Cheese 2. Gum 3. Apple.

 

Conclusion

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, I was able to prove that the 5 second rule is a myth. As soon as the surface of a food product touches the ground, bacteria begins forming right away. The bacterial growth became greater day after day. Cheese has the greatest amount of bacteria both in volume and with the different variations of bacteria growing. It didn’t matter what type of food fell onto the ground, the formation of bacteria began on all of them. 


First Place Gold Trophy stock illustration. Illustration of black - 8011150The block-barrel spread is widening, and it's hurting dairy farmers - Jacoby

Application

REAL LIFE APPLICATIONS

 

No matter how clean floors may appear to be, when you drop food on that clean floor bacteria is still going to get onto the food’s surface. Bacteria growth is taking place all around us. We need to do our best to keep our living space as clean as possible when we can. Bacteria is very resilient and almost impossible to stop from growing. 

Art With a Needle: Photo suite 4 -- food on the ground

Sources Of Error

Sources of Error

 

Some sources of error with my experiment would be:

- the temperature of the area where I conducted the procedure

- the temperature of where I stored the growing bacteria

- the possibility of the items landing in the exact same spot over the course of the experiment 

Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement

 

A very special thanks to:

My parents, Mrs. MacPherson, Mrs. Burkell and my school for choosing me to be apart of the Science Fair.