What is the title of your research project?
Natural vs. Chemical Preservation Methods in Raw Milk
How did you get started on your research project?
In researching ideas for our annual research project, we came across an article in the National High School Journal of Science entitled “Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Turmeric” which really open our eyes to alternate preservation of food. The article utilized a simplified experiment which we expanded upon and made scientifically sound for the natural preservation of milk. Our chemistry teacher suggested we take a look at third world preservation techniques, and that led to the chemical treatment for the milk.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far in the research process?
The most interesting thing would have to be how much modern science can expand and perfect certain biological functions. The chemical preservation process we investigated is derived from an evolutionary mechanism in raw milk that helps protect calves’ immune systems. By increasing the chemicals responsible for the mechanism, the anti-bacterial affect can be made large scale without adverse side effects to a human consumer. That’s fascinating.
What advice would you give to students developing their first research project?
The original research idea is very rarely the final research idea. You can’t be afraid of when an idea doesn’t pan out. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means you need a new version of that idea. And also let practicality drive most decisions in developing a project. The research project that you can pull off completely is the research project you should be doing.