The Inhibition of Mold Growth when Exposed to Citronella Oil and Sodium Chloride

The purpose of this experiment is to determine an all-natural product that could prevent the growth of mold. Mold is a common variety of fungus known for infesting water-damaged basements and other moist areas. More recently, the major flood in Warren this past August led to a tremendous debacle with mold, with thousands of individuals affected. Mold is also an issue due to the numerous health risks that can be attained from the fungus.

This research project was performed to attempt to find a low-risk natural substance that would prevent the growth of mold. The two solutions that were used in the experiment were citronella oil and a salt water solution. These two were chosen because they were simple to acquire and simple to make, and because they were natural substances with no health risks. The performance of the experiment had wooden splints that were soaked in one of the two solutions and subsequently put into Petri dishes containing mold. The treated sticks and the mold were left in the Petri dish for a period of 8-10 days, after which the amount of mold was measured. To measure the data, the researchers made a measuring stick with 4 square millimeter blocks to count the mold spores.

It was found that the citronella solution was more effective at preventing the growth of mold on the wooden splints, with over half of the treated sticks completely preventing the growth of mold throughout the testing period.


Research Conducted By:

Trevor Polisuk-Balfour
Cousino High School

Matthew DeSantis
Cousino High School

Randall Stroshein
Warren Mott High School