Microbe Mission B/C

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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby RJohnson » January 12th, 2017, 12:32 pm

Without microbes, which of the following foods can still exist?
Cheese
Dry sausages
Olives
Cabbage
Bread

Is it dry sausages?
I would think so.
I would argue that none of them could exist, because microbes are essential players in the ecosystem of the soil, without which none of the plant subproducts could be grown and the animal that produced the meat for the sausages needed microbes in its body... Overall not a good multiple choice question, I think it could be taken and successfully defended several ways as an extended response.

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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Alex-RCHS » January 19th, 2017, 4:55 pm

The most recent tests in the test exchange are from 2011 and 2012. Does anyone know if the rules for MM are basically the same as they were then? Or if there is a place to find practice tests for 2016-17?
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby John Richardsim » January 19th, 2017, 5:34 pm

The most recent tests in the test exchange are from 2011 and 2012. Does anyone know if the rules for MM are basically the same as they were then? Or if there is a place to find practice tests for 2016-17?
The rules were very similar to the current rules.
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby _deltaV » January 20th, 2017, 8:14 am

As far as I know no microbes are involved in producing olives as they are brined or pickled. Dry sausages like salami and chorizo actually do involve some form of fermentation that produces acids, curing and preserving the meat
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Alex-RCHS » January 20th, 2017, 1:08 pm

The pickling process can be done in a vinegar solution -- which as far as I know does not involve microbes -- or in a brine, which does.

So olives and pickles can be made without microbes, but can also be made with them.
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Skink » January 22nd, 2017, 8:30 am

Would studying the several handouts posted on the Microbe Mission webpage of the Science Olympiad website be enough to prepare for the competition? Are there any other topics that are not in those handouts but are going to be on the test?
The training handouts are awesome, but it's a good rule of thumb to treat them as bare minimum level studying material, especially in a biology event where there's just so much content. I don't think relying on Campbell is a good idea here, either. For Cell Bio, that would have been effective, as the first however many chapters covered nearly everything in adequate detail on the RS level topics. Select sections of microbiology texts are the optimal resource here (as we may as well rename the event "Microbiology Lab".

That highlights a key difference between those two events, though: Cell Bio's topics were narrow enough where you could have confidence at a point that you know what you're doing. Here? There's far less assurance. For example, I sat through a presentation where the presenter said that the only thing you need to know about diseases are the causative agents. A)That's not how the rules are written, and, more importantly, B)that's copy-directly-from-the-cheat-sheet type stuff, which isn't exactly how SO is supposed to go. So, some tournaments will have very easy disease sections, while others will involve analyzing clinical scenarios. This sort of thing applies to other topics, too.

A consequence of this is that some supervisors are going to be unsure of what to put on a test. My B team competed at a tournament recently where the supervisor gave photographs of bacteria and asked them to identify. Yeah, no...there are a couple of causative agents that I actually think are fair game for C division to be able to identify (if only because they have very, very distinctive appearances), but I fear that that won't be the last tournament I come across this.
Last edited by Skink on January 22nd, 2017, 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Unome » January 23rd, 2017, 4:57 am

Would studying the several handouts posted on the Microbe Mission webpage of the Science Olympiad website be enough to prepare for the competition? Are there any other topics that are not in those handouts but are going to be on the test?
The training handouts are awesome, but it's a good rule of thumb to treat them as bare minimum level studying material, especially in a biology event where there's just so much content. I don't think relying on Campbell is a good idea here, either. For Cell Bio, that would have been effective, as the first however many chapters covered nearly everything in adequate detail on the RS level topics. Select sections of microbiology texts are the optimal resource here (as we may as well rename the event "Microbiology Lab".

That highlights a key difference between those two events, though: Cell Bio's topics were narrow enough where you could have confidence at a point that you know what you're doing. Here? There's far less assurance. For example, I sat through a presentation where the presenter said that the only thing you need to know about diseases are the causative agents. A)That's not how the rules are written, and, more importantly, B)that's copy-directly-from-the-cheat-sheet type stuff, which isn't exactly how SO is supposed to go. So, some tournaments will have very easy disease sections, while others will involve analyzing clinical scenarios. This sort of thing applies to other topics, too.

A consequence of this is that some supervisors are going to be unsure of what to put on a test. My B team competed at a tournament recently where the supervisor gave photographs of bacteria and asked them to identify. Yeah, no...there are a couple of causative agents that I actually think are fair game for C division to be able to identify (if only because they have very, very distinctive appearances), but I fear that that won't be the last tournament I come across this.
Yeah, I've been struggling with whether I should treat this as a lab-based event similar to Bio-Process Lab, or a content-based event (which was the type of test we got at MIT; somehow we got 11th by guessing a lot).
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Alex-RCHS » January 23rd, 2017, 1:14 pm

I've always thought of this as a study event, but I guess that may not be the case. I thought the same about Cell Bio last year but they gave us a lab station at nats...

What lab-like activities might we do for MM?
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby Private Wang Fire » January 23rd, 2017, 2:27 pm

I've always thought of this as a study event, but I guess that may not be the case. I thought the same about Cell Bio last year but they gave us a lab station at nats...

What lab-like activities might we do for MM?
Once at an invite this year there were stations and we had to make a wet mount with a fiber and focus it under high power under a pretty tight time constraint (there were other questions at the stations as well for a total of like 4 mins). That was pretty fun tho.
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Re: Microbe Mission B/C

Postby sciduck » January 23rd, 2017, 5:17 pm

I've always thought of this as a study event, but I guess that may not be the case. I thought the same about Cell Bio last year but they gave us a lab station at nats...

What lab-like activities might we do for MM?
Once at an invite this year there were stations and we had to make a wet mount with a fiber and focus it under high power under a pretty tight time constraint (there were other questions at the stations as well for a total of like 4 mins). That was pretty fun tho.
The only lab-ish things I've had to do is read a pipette and use a microscope.
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