Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Research Proposal



Research Topic (Global Challenge): Food shortage

Chosen Area of Focus:How ingredients in bread affects the bread’s shelf life

Group Members’ Names:
a) Tang Wen Yu (6)
b) Sim Yu Hui, Kellie (5)
c) Seet Li Wen, Joanna (3)

1.Statement of problem (framing our research topic):
(200 words)

In the 21st century, one of the major problems is Food Shortage. Half of the world’s population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century as rising temperatures shorten the growing season in the tropics and subtropics, increase the risk of drought, and reduce the harvests of dietary staples such as rice and maize by 20 percent to 40 percent, according to a study published in the journal Science. Bread is one of the most common food that we eat. It can be found easily in bakeries and local stores, and it is not hard at all to bake bread at home. mould usually grows on bread in about 1 week, and because of this, a lot of bread has been gone to waste because we don’t eat them fast enough. To decrease the amount of bread that goes to waste, we can increase the time that the bread can be consumed, so that people would have more time to eat the bread before it gets mouldy.This will also affect the economy as without sufficient food,food prices will increase.In some places,like the UK,food prices are already set to increase in the next 5 years.Therefore, our investigation is about how we can increase the shelf life of bread. (216 words)

2.Research Objectives
200 words
  • To find out how the ingredients in bread affects the shelf life
  • To find out the best combination of ingredients for longest shelf life
  • To find out the best and worst condition for mould to grow in
3.Literature Review (Brief summary of at least 3 sources that you have consulted with reference to your research topic)
200 words

The three topics that we researched on are the ingredients in bread, how to increase shelf life and what causes mould to grow. For the ingredients in bread, we found out that some of the most common bread ingredients are flour, yeast, water, salt and sugar. Oil or butter is also added to ease to reduce the water absorption of the dough. Preservatives are usually added in store-board bread, so home-made bread does not last as long as compared to store-bought bread. We found out that preservatives would increase bread’ shelf life.Other things like using Sourdough,which is pre-fermented or leaving the bread dough overnight before baking it are also said to be ways of increasing the shelf life of bread.One of the most common ways of preserving bread is to place it in the refrigerator,where is it too cold for mould to grow,slowing down the spoiling process. From our research on what causes mould to grow, we found out thmt Moisture, warmth and food are the different conditions that are required for mould to grow. Mould spores usually thrive in damp and dark areas. Mould grows on bread because it needs food in order to reproduce and grow. The bread provides that food. The level of moisture in the bread is the right level for mould to grow. mould spores float around in the air. Bread left out in the air can be a landing place for mould spores. It takes just one spore to start mould growing. mould requires only a dark and moist area and some type of organic material to grow. Heat does not kill it, but since heat dries up the water mould is often in cool or cold locations. We also found out that mould spores would always be on the bread no matter what, but the conditions have to be right for the mould to grow. To prevent mould from growing, however, we can refrigerate the bread after opening. This already knocks out the “heat” part of the requirements for the mould to grow, and so by refrigerating it mould won’t grow.

4.Proposed Hypotheses

We think that the bread’s shelf life would increase when preservatives are added so when there is less preservatives, mould would grow on the bread faster, thus, decrease its shelf life.

5.Research Plan (Describe how you intend to design your research i.e. who/what you are going to research on, how many respondents, your study area/location etc)

We will be baking the bread on our own,so as to control the ingredients. We would be buying the bread dough (the one which has no preservatives added in it), and then knead the dough, separating the dough into 5 parts. We are going to put different amounts of preservatives in each dough, to see which ones are going to grow mold faster. In the first bread, we are going to put 5 grams of preservatives per 100 grams of dough, and then 4 grams of preservatives per 100 grams in the second bread, and 3 grams of preservatives in the third bread, and so on. This is to see if the shelf life of the bread (The amount of time it takes for mold to appear) would increase when the amount of preservatives are increased.

6.Analysis of data

For the analysis of data, we are going to measure the time it takes for the mold to appear on each bread, and then see if the amount of preservatives actually affects the shelf life of the bread. We are going to analyze the data by constructing a graph with the time/day against the percentage of mold that is found on the bread

7.Overall assessment on feasibility and manageability of the research (justify why your research can be managed and results be achieved within the time-frame)

We believe that our research can be done quickly and efficiently because it is not hard to find bread and all we have to do is to expose them to different situations, and see how the bread would react to these situations/settings (Will their shelf life increase, decrease, or stay the same?). After that, we would gather our data and key in our results and finalise our conclusion from there.


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