When lockdown was announced in the UK, I decided to move to live with some friends in Oxford in their student house. I love food and I love cooking so of course the first place I started to investigate was the fridge. It’s always well stocked, but possibly not the cleanest or most hygienic place I’ve ever seen…Anyway, I had a lot of fun playing around with some of the items in the fridge (onions, lemon rind, some cold-brew coffee) and then some mould stuck to the bottom of a drawer. I may or may not have gotten told off by my housemates for having quite such a rummage through the fridge (all in the name of science, eh!), but after showing them the foldscope image of the mould, we’ve had a good clean up and clean out of the fridge.
One thing I was quite surprised and curious about was the way in which colours presented themselves through the foldscope. For example, I expected there to be more brown colouring on the coffee, but instead it just showed up grey. Meanwhile, it was amazing to see splashes of different colours in the mould that I couldn’t see with my own eyes when initially looking at it. It was also amazing to see some of the different textures in the mould which made me think that there were maybe a few different species of fungi within the sample. How might these fungi be interacting with one another? Regarding the red and blue coloured fungi, what might the reasons be behind this colouring? Even if it slightly annoys my housemates, I’m excited to keep playing around with the foldscope to investigate and keep track of the state of our fridge!
I conducted this project as part of Professor Pringle’s EEB321 class at Princeton University.