Interesting Facts From Stem Con 2023


Gavin Lopez

Loki Aspinhall, Testing Cellular Respiration of Yeast With Sugar Substitutes

Gavin Lopez, Staff Writer

Interesting Information Shared at Agua Fria District STEMcon 2023

On Tuesday, February 23, from 5-8 p.m., Canyon View High School held STEMcon. Students had the opportunity to browse several STEM projects done by scholars or visit with professionals to learn more about their jobs. These professionals were all locally employed and included careers such as power plant workers and wildfire firefighters. The students’ projects were to answer the question: What are some challenges in our community, and what can we do to solve them? The variety of responses were fascinating and diverse. STEMcon was full of students answering questions about how to solve problems their community may face, and they were masters in their subject. Every student that was questioned on their project could go in great depth about the details and was able to teach all the information surrounding their topic effectively. This year’s Stem Con provided students with an excellent opportunity to show what they learned in their experiments.

One interesting fact is the Dutch Brothers Coffee in Avondale uses locally cleaned water straight from a pipe in the ground. The pipes in Avondale extend tens of thousands of feet under the city, and it is essential for people to check the water regularly. One of the professionals explained that Tardigrades are used in the facility to help treat the water.

Many of the student’s projects focused on plants. Loki Aspinall’s project was on the cellular respiration of yeast with sugar substitutes. Cellular respiration creates ATP energy which is food for plants. He explained why bread could be the best solution for the yeast.

Loki tested granulated sugar, saccharin, and sucralose. Sugar helps yeast to do things like help expand the bread, retain moisture, and improve crumb texture. Loki measured the cellular respiration in a balloon, measuring only for the expansion part of the sugar’s job when it is helping the yeast. He checked every 30 minutes on how fast the substitute would affect the yeast in the balloon, and the more it expanded, the better. Loki found Saccralin expanded the most in the shortest amount of time and was also the cheapest of the three substitutes, making it the best substitute for the cellular respiration of yeast with sugar substitutes.

The community can look forward to more projects and displays as STEMcon will return in the spring of 2024.