Finally, I was able to pull the first round of results out of the incubator, do a CFU (colony forming unit) count and put the data into a graph in R. Unfortunately my initial count reflected my confusion between bacillus cells that were spread wide and deformed, and fungi. An example of a cell that was noted as a “spreader cell” can be seen below . After this confusion was cleared up and the corrected data was inputted, there was still not a very strong correlation of effect of the VOC’s on the microbes. This could be attributed to a few problems we found with the experiment. First of all, the jars we used were old and possibly cracked which would allow for VOC’s to escape. Secondly, with the wet compost in the incubation temperature of 30 degrees Celsius, condensation happened naturally. This condensation formed droplets at the top of the jars that then dripped onto and contaminated some of the plates. These issues will be considered into our next experimental design and hopefully they will be prevented.

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