In the pharmaceutical/bio-tech industries, engineers make vaccines and biological products in aseptic (very clean, almost sterile) rooms. In order to go into the room, they must “gown-up” in approved attire. They are tested to see if there are any biological contaminants on their gowning by RODAC plates. These are solid growth media that biological contamination love to grow in.
This is what Dr. Ford did with the children yesterday:
Constructed a simple incubator from a styrofoam cooler, light bulb, thermostat, etc.
Gave a brief talk about vaccine manufacture, “gowning-up” and demonstrate how engineers “gown-up.”
Divided the kids into groups to test some surfaces with RODAC plates. Some good surfaces are:
- Hands before & after washing or hand sanitizer
- Door knobs
- Kitchen counter
- Toilet seat
- Anything the kids are curious about, including food
Labeled each of the RODAC plates and placed them into the incubator (left one unopened as a control). We will be keeping the incubator in the elementary room for safe keeping.
- The plates should have a bunch of colonies of biological contaminants. Each one will grow a “colony” that can been easily seen.
- I will ask the kids to compare the plates and discuss why some have more than others.
- Discuss how a “colony” is formed from a single contaminant and how to count the “colony forming units.”