“Check your food following the steps of great microbiologists” was the name given to the workshop designed by Dr. Laura Marcos, postdoctoral researcher from UAM-IMDEA Food, at School Fundación Caldeiro last Friday, February 14th. This activity, organized by the Autonoma University of Madrid and the IMDEA Food Institute, has been aligned to the quarter “Trust in Food” of the European project #AnnualFoodAgenda.
Laura Judith Marcos carried out different experiments related to microbiology to determine the authenticity of foods with 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th grade primary school students. Many of these scientific achievements were developed by leading women in the world of microbiology such as Fanny Hesse, who, discovered the usefulness of an algae extract called “Agar-Agar” to make microbiological cultures. This finding has allowed us to study the bacteria that grow in our food and to guarantee the quality and safety of food.
On the other hand, she also shared the story of Rebecca Lancefield, whose studies have made it possible for us to know whether these bacteria are benign or malignant for our bodies.
Among many other relevant women microbiologists, there is also Harriette Chick, who discovered that the use of small portions of chlorine could disinfect water and food. On the one hand, by stopping the human spread of bacteria and fungi and, at the same time, by finding the exact amount of chlorine that is not harmful to health. Something that allowed him to establish the relationship between food and the appearance of some diseases.
Dr. Marcos presented the case of Mary Hunt, who, by analysing up to a thousand moulds without success, she finally managed to find the only one capable of producing penicillin and on a large scale, something revolutionary.
300 students were also able to see through a large screen different lab plates with bacteria, as well as learn what antibiotic resistance is thanks to a game devised by Laura Marcos.