Effects of cleaning agents on bacterial growth on refrigerator surfaces
(1) Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, (2) Harvard University, (3) Johns Hopkins University
Foodborne illness is a critical public health issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. To combat this, preventative measures at both the individual and industrial levels have been implemented successfully, such as refrigeration and the prevention of cross-contamination. To demonstrate the importance of individual preventative measures, we tested different cleaning methods and how they might reduce the bacterial population present on surfaces of a home refrigerator. By measuring bacterial growth on LB agar plated with samples from a household refrigerator shelf before and after cleaning, we observed that cleaning shelves with water proved ineffective when compared to other agents such as dish soap and Lysol, which successfully reduced the number of surface bacteria. This work demonstrated the importance of cleaning agents in proper food safety measures.