7 Fungi Lab Experiments Educators Can Use to Engage Students

Ginelle Testa

7 Fungi Lab Experiments Educators Can Use to Engage Students

Fungi are incredibly diverse and play crucial roles in our ecosystem, from decomposing organic matter to aiding in biotechnological processes. Understanding fungi is vital for students, but the abstract nature of some concepts can make it difficult for them to grasp. 

Here are seven engaging and informative fungi labs, including in-person labs and Labster virtual labs, covering everything from basic identification to advanced biotechnological applications. 

In-Person & Virtual Fungi Labs

1. In-person lab: Fungi Identification

Students will venture into various environments to collect different fungi samples and bring them to class. Using tools like magnifying glasses and microscopes, they’ll learn to identify fungi based on physical characteristics such as shape, color, and texture. 

2. Virtual lab: Fermentation: Optimize bio-ethanol production

Students will experiment with the growth conditions of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in order to produce as much bio-ethanol as quickly as possible. The production of ethanol through fermentation by the yeast is widely used to produce alcoholic drinks such as beer and wine. It can also be harnessed to sustainably produce bio-ethanol that could be used as fuel.

2. In-person lab: Mold Growth Experimentation

Explore the factors that influence mold growth by conducting experiments on bread mold. This lab allows students to manipulate variables such as humidity, temperature, and light exposure to observe their effects on mold development. Insights gained can be applied to food preservation and industrial applications where mold control is essential.

4. Virtual lab: Bacterial Growth Curves: Experiment with bacterial growth

Students will experiment with bacterial growth and test the impact of different factors on bacterial growth. Will they be able to plot the bacterial growth and determine the different growth phases?

5. In-person lab: Yeast Fermentation

This lab engages students in a practical experiment in which yeast metabolizes sugar to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol. This experiment demonstrates the principles of anaerobic respiration and is foundational for those studying biochemistry and environmental sciences.

It’ll also explore the process of fermentation using yeast and sugar to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol, demonstrating anaerobic respiration.

6. Virtual lab: Evolution: Taxonomic tree of life

Students will build their knowledge of their own taxonomic tree by comparing the biological differences that discriminate between the major kingdoms of life. To complete their tree, they’ll examine the fossil evidence for evolutionary divergence and assign the defining features to each kingdom. Discover the differences between the prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the bacteria and archaea, and the animalia and fungi kingdoms.

7. In-person lab: Antifungal Agent Efficacy Lab

Students investigate the effectiveness of various antifungal agents. By testing different substances, they can observe their impacts on fungal growth, providing practical insights into applications like agriculture for crop protection and pharmaceuticals for developing antifungal medications.

Final Thoughts

Whether in a physical or virtual setting, these seven fungi labs provide a comprehensive learning experience that highlights the importance and diversity of fungi. Each lab is designed to enhance understanding through practical application, making them indispensable for those passionate about biology, ecology, and biotechnology.

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