To be a Food Detective

Total: 20 Hours

One of the ways for promoting students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics is to help students to appreciate how STEAM can help solving different real-life problems, promoting quality of life, and protecting human lives.

As a result, this module, “To be a Food Detective”, aims to let students apply a number of molecular biology techniques to investigate the presence of adulteration in food products, such as luncheon meat and sausage, which is an important food trade and food safety problem.

The module consists of the following 4 units,

  • Unit 1 – DNA Extraction;
  • Unit 2 – Building a Thermocycler;
  • Unit 3 – Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR); and
  • Unit 4 – Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP)

In Unit 1, students will extract DNA of the constituting meat from the processed meat samples. In Unit 2, student will build a thermocycler using Arduino. Student will also decorate the casting of the thermocycler. The thermocycler will be used for the PCR of Unit 3. In Unit 3, students will amplify the cytochrome gene from the DNA extracted in the Unit 1 by PCR, using the thermocycler built in Unit 2 or thermocycler of other brands. Student will also perform an agarose gel electrophoresis to confirm whether the gene is successfully amplified. In Unit 4, students will digest the amplified cytochrome gene using the technique of restriction fragment length polymorphism. Student will perform another agarose gel electrophoresis of the digested DNA for visualising the digestion pattern of the gene (DNA fingerprinting). Teachers will also assess if the students have met the learning outcomes.

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