Foodborne Outbreak Investigation MiniLab

Foodborne Outbreak Investigation MiniLab (Order no. M3006)

System(s) required: Electrophoresis

The Foodborne Outbreak Investigation MiniLab is an inquiry-based lab incorporating hypothesis testing, experimental design, and data analysis. This AP Biology lab is designed to be college level.

This AP Biology level lab is designed to be equivalent to a college level lab to prepare students for the rigor of university education. This Foodborne Outbreak Investigation MiniLab is a student-driven discovery process based on a real-world Shigella outbreak of 2000. Students use scientific reasoning to mimic a foodborne outbreak investigation and design an experiment using gel electrophoresis to determine the source of the outbreak.

The intent of this lab exercise is to engage and encourage students to ask the right questions and develop the skill sets need to approach a problem.

  • 2-day lab recommended for AP, Honors, and advanced biology students
  • Develop an understanding of foodborne outbreaks and foodborne illness, topics that are frequently in the news and relatable to students’ lives
  • Translate information expressed as text into other visual forms, such as tables and charts, to systematically analyze data
  • Apply forensic science principles to construct a hypothesis about which food caused partygoers to become ill
  • Design an experiment to test the hypothesis using appropriate positive and negative controls
  • Cast, load, run, and analyze an agarose gel to determine which food sample contains the pathogen
  • Students evaluate and critique experimental approaches used by their own team and by others in the class
  • Store in the refrigerator; GreenGel™ Cups should be left in the original package and protected from light; guaranteed stable for six months with proper storage

Materials Included in Each MiniLab
Each MiniLab contains enough materials for 10 workstations, 2 – 3 students per workstation. Materials include:

  • Ten 1% agarose GreenGel™ Cups
  • Eleven DNA samples
  • One bottle of 100 mL Tris-Borate-EDTA (TBE) buffer concentrate
  • Two bags of 0.65 mL microcentrifuge tubes
  • One bag of 1 – 200 µL micropipette tips
  • Teacher guide, a two-part detailed guide with background information and step-by-step procedures
  • Quiz question bank and answers