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To a quart bottle of water, add 9 teaspoons of mineral fertilizer, shake the mixture, and allow it to settle. Now add 1/2 inch of soil and 1/2 teaspoon of sulfur to one of
three identical jars with lids. Pour the fertilizer mixture into the jar to a level of 1 inch above the soil.

Add the same amount of soil and mixture to the second jar, but do not add sulfur.

Add the mixture and sulfur to the third jar, but do not add the soil.

Swirl the contents around, and seal each jar with its lid.

Let the jars remain undisturbed for two weeks, but record observations daily. You will see when bubbles appear and smell odors when the jars are opened.

Since all the jars were covered to prevent exposure to air, the changes within must be due to bacteria that can live and grow when sealed off from air.

From the results of the three conditions, you should also realize that the bacteria inside must use sulfur instead of oxygen for growth.

Some bacteria, called aerobic bacteria, need air to grow while others, called anaerobic bacteria, grow without air.

Septic tanks make use of the latter type to change waste products into harmless material. Sometimes anaerobic bacteria poison foods by growing in vacuum-sealed cans.

Botulism ("BOT-you-liz-um") is an "acute, often fatal food poisoning from ingestion of food containing toxins produced by Clostridium Botulinum bacteria. Most cases are caused by canned food that has been improperly processed. The disease causes disturbances in vision, speech, and swallowing, and, ultimately, paralysis of respiratory muscles, leading to suffocation." This is not a good thing.

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