J^ CAUTION Tell your teacher if you have any allergies to fungi. Put on safety goggles, a lab apron, and disposable gloves. Obtain four sterile Petri dishes, two with nutrient medium and two with nutrient medium plus propionic acid. Label the dishes for the presence or absence of propionic acid.
2. Examine the fungal samples through a dissecting microscope. Select a dense growth of a fungus from which you will take samples.
3. Use a toothpick to scoop up a small sample of the fungus you have selected. In the two Petri dishes without propionic acid, gently touch the sample to the medium in four places. Raise the lids of the dishes as little as possible while doing this. Do the same for the two Petri dishes with propionic acid, using a clean toothpick and another small sample of the same fungus. Dispose of the toothpicks according to the teacher's instructions.
4. Place a piece of masking tape on opposite sides of each dish to hold the lid and bottom together. Label each Petri dish with your name.
5. Design an experiment to determine which of two opposite environmental conditions is better for fungal growth. Some possible combinations are warm/cold, light/dark, and moist/dry. Label one of the dishes that contain propionic acid with one of the two environmental conditions you selected. Label the other dish with the other condition. Do the same for the two dishes that do not contain propionic acid. Then, incubate all four dishes under the appropriate conditions.
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