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Saint Martin’s University Biology Journal

Discussion

I hypothesized that acrylic nails would contain more bacteria when they were unwashed and washed as compared to native nails. However, my data failed to support my hypothesis. According to my data, there were no significant differences between native and acrylic nails in bacterial growth either washed or unwashed statistically (d.f.=3; F=1.66; P=0.195). The first set of my data was obtained by using method 1, the counting bacterial colonies method. The results indicated that washed native nails had a higher average and unwashed native nails had a lower average when comparing the number of bacterial colonies found in the Petri dish, though statistically there was no statistical difference between the groups.

On the other hand, washed acrylic nails had a higher average, and unwashed acrylic nails had a lower average when comparing the number of bacterial colonies found in the Petri dish, but again there was no statistical difference between the groups. I found it interesting that washed acrylic and native nails contained more bacteria than unwashed acrylic and native nails, because I expected the washing of the hands to reduce bacteria. Yet Figure 1 demonstrates that washed acrylic and native nails had a higher average in the number of bacterial colonies, and unwashed acrylic and native nails had a lower average. The error bars in Figure 1, specify a large variation within each group between the number of bacterial colonies found on nails when they were unwashed or washed, which could partially explain my results. My data were extremely variable between participants.

The next set of my data was obtained by using the spectrophotometer. After doing this method, results still lead to no significant differences between the two groups of nails. In Figure 2, bacteria from native nails absorbed more light than

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May 2006, Volume 1

bacteria from acrylic nails. Statistically, there was no significant difference in bacterial growth here between native and acrylic nails when absorbance was measured (F=1.68; d.f.=1; P=0.214). Low sample sizes and high variability between participants may explain this outcome.

My data failed to support my hypothesis that acrylic nails would contain more bacteria when they were unwashed and washed as compared to native nails. The possible reasons for the results of my experiment could be due to a limited number of participants, and the effectiveness of the participant’s hand washing method contributing to the amount of bacteria, instead of reducing it. In other words, more acrylic nail participants would have, in my opinion, balanced out the number of participants, affected the results in a way that more data would have made the values more significant, leading to the possibility that my hypothesis would be correct. The effectiveness of the participant washing their hands is another possibility to why results showed that washed acrylic and native nails had the higher average in comparing the number of bacterial colonies found with in the Petri dishes.

If further studies were to be done, I would modify a few factors. Ways this study could be modified are recruiting more participants next time, such as 40 participants for both native and acrylic nails. I would also modify this study by having the participants improve their hand washing methods, and then compare the data to see if there were any changes.

Nail health is important and more warnings about nail cosmetics should be brought to the attention of many people, especially women. I would do this research after it has been modified; hoping that the information will contribute to women’s

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