Fungi Decomposer Lab  


     Decomposers are organisms, often a bacterium, mold, or fungus, that feed on and break down dead plant or animal matter, thus making organic nutrients available to the ecosystem.  Fungi, for example, with the help of enzymes will decompose decaying matter while feasting on the nutrients of that substance. This is why that most fungi are useful because without them, the biomass would be crowded with dead matter. The organisms of the fungal lineage include mushrooms, rusts, smuts, puffballs, truffles, morels, molds and yeasts. More than 70,000 species of fungi have been described; however, some estimates of total numbers suggest that 1.5 million species may exist. Fungal spores are all around us all the time, floating in the air and attached to everything. When they land on food for example, the spores can eventually grow into fungal fruit bodies, causing the food to decay or go moldy (mold is a type of fungi) especially in the presents of warm, dark, and moist environments.  Spices (ie garlic, allspice, and cinnamon) can be effective antifungal agents in foods and that it may have just been coincidental that adding spices for taste helped with preventing illnesses.  Note: No problem question or hypothesis given (tbd)









Sliced Bread [must be “fresh” / white] (2 per group)

Sandwich Zip-Lock Bags (2 per group)

Spray Bottle(s) with Water only

Fresh Ground Cinnamon


Refrigerator / Incubator / Light-Dark Area



Preparation: Part I




* The idea is to create a lab that someone else can “replicate”.

* Everything between the items being tested is to remain the “same”, “except” for what is being tested.

* Members in your group are to use the “template” provided to develop a draft of the lab.

* After having your template checked, create a “shared” document. 

* Lab is to be conducted in a “professional manner”

* Follow all “suggestions and guidelines” including the lab to be doubled spaced and use size 12 font.  


1.      Choose and write down only one (1) of the following “Problem Questions” conditions to be tested:


§  Does being in a wet (sprayed with water) or in a dry (not sprayed with water) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in a warm no light (incubator) or in a cool no light (refrigerator) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in a lighted (classroom) or in a darkened (store room / closet) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in spice (cinnamon stick powder) or in a spice free (no cinnamon powder) environment make a difference in fungal growth on bread?

§  Does being in air (blown in with a straw) or in a no air (drawn out with a straw) environment make a difference to fungal growth on bread?


2.      Research creditable Background about the problem question on your own; nothing to write on lab.


3.      State a proper “Hypothesis” based off your problem question and research (use If, then format).


4.      List the “Materials” (prioritize, quantity, detailed, metric)


5.      Provide the “Steps” (numbered, complete sentences, proper grammar, detailed, metric)



Procedure: Part II


6.      If not done yet, get “approval” by having the instructor review the template handout.


7.      Conduct the experiment based on your initial materials and steps.  Make note of any updates or changes to the materials and steps, and then make those corrections on the created shared document.


      Note: Unless the experiment is dry vs wet, spray all bread equally with the same amount of water.


      Note: All bread is to go into a sandwich bag. The fungi spores that concentrate in the bags can be very dangerous. So, once the bags are sealed they are not be opened for any reason during and after the experiment. 


      Note: Return and clean up all materials used for the lab.  







Results and Conclusion:  Part III


8.   Provide a “Results” paragraph(s) of the lab findings:


·         Qualitative: Use descriptive and detailed explanations (complete sentences, proper grammar, and no pronouns or proper names).

                     - Nothing about hypothesis, materials, steps, feels or opinions; just the facts


·         Quantitative: Use, number(s), percentage(s), fraction(s), etc. to explain your findings.

                                   - Optional: If you make and use a graph/table/picture, cite the illustration here (ie See Figure) and place the graph/table/picture at the end of the lab (include a description with the graph/table/picture)


9.   Write a “Conclusion” paragraph for the lab:


·         Restate “your” problem question.


·         Restate “your” hypothesis.


·         Was “your” hypothesis proven or disproven?  If disproven, tell why? - ie Start off by writing… The hypothesis was …


·         What unforeseen event(s) happened? - ie Start off by writing… An unforeseen event      was …


·         What improvement(s) could have been made? - ie Start off by writing…  An improvement that could be made for this lab would be…


·         State a “springboard question” (followed by a question mark) - ie Similar to the problem question; what other similar study could be done?(Just a question; do not answer)


10.  * Review the “rubric” and the “requirements” for each section of the lab.

       * Share document as directed [partners first and last names and period as file name]; tbd

       * Peer Review: You may be asked to share your lab and results in class (tba)