Exploring the Preservative Qualities of Various Spices

Microbiology Science Fair Project

For middle school students interested in microbiology, this is sure to be a great science fair project to check out! It addresses the issue of food spoilage; specifically how different spices, naturally found in the environment, can be used as to preserve foods due to the antimicrobial and anti-fungal compounds they contain.

Spices you might explore...

  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Oregano
  • Cloves
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Coriander
  • Vanilla beans

[NOTE: Use the actual spices or explore the effects of the active "preservative" ingredient found in the spice - i.e. carvacrol, which is present in oregano, thyme and pepper; eugenol, which is found in cinnamon, cloves and allspice; vanillic acid, the active ingredient in vanilla beans and coriander, etc.]

If you're looking for an example procedure to help set up your experiment, check out this project from Science Buddies for some inspiration!

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