The experiment conducted was aimed towards assessing the capabilities of both bacteria and fungi to decompose food samples in acidic conditions. In this sense, four variables were tested in relation to the rotting process, using both pickled and non-pickled cucumber samples in tap water, bottled water, vinegar, and no liquid setups.
The resulting setups were observed for the growth of microorganisms at regular intervals for five weeks. The hypothesis considered through the experiment was that pickled cucumbers will have a slower rate of microbial decomposition compared to non-pickled cucumbers.
Basing on the results, wherein non-pickled cucumber samples were identified to have acquired greater microbial growth development through time for all substrates, then the hypothesis was evidently supported. In addition, it is quite notable that microbial growth was not observed in pickled samples throughout the five week period for every setup used.
As for the non-pickled cucumber samples in tap water and bottled water setups, bacterial growth characterized by brown spots began during the fourth week of observation, and decay progressed through the fifth week. Contrary to what is expected though, even though vinegar being acidic has intrinsic antimicrobial properties, microbial growth should have been observed. However, from the results, neither bacteria nor fungi were able to grow in vinegar based setups.
Theoretically, the fungi are expected to exhibit better growth since the fungi are generally more acid tolerant than the bacteria; hence common spoilage bacterial colonies will benefit more from more less acidic conditions (Lund, Parker, and Gould, 2000).
Unfortunately though, fungal growth was not observed in the course of the experiment as pointed out. In conclusion, although the experiment was generally successful and the hypothesis was confirmed, changes to the general procedure may be done in succeeding trials especially in consideration of fungal growth.
For one, the commercially produced pickles must no longer be used since the heat and saline processing involved in its production may already have rid of most of the fungi as well as other spoilage bacteria. Also, the use of completely sterile or aseptic procedures may be utilized in sample procurement, preparation, storage, and observation so as to increase the reliability of the results.