Lucas Spagnoletti is just as spectacular in the lab as he is in the pool. The Huntington High School sophomore is an All-State swimmer and a star in the science research program, too.
Mr. Spagnoletti developed a project that involved studying the effects of spices on the growth of microbes. The goal of the project was to see if the designated spices he chose could inhibit the growth of specific microbes.
“I used different agars (a jelly-like substance) with each made from a spice of black pepper, chili powder or clove powder,” Mr. Spagnoletti said. “Different bacteria and fungi were then grown on the same agar tray and growth was then measured. With clove powder being most effective.”
The teenager has been developing the project and the research behind it since early last fall. He has stepped up his game by attempting to perform an experiment using different spices, including cumin, cinnamon and oregano.
“I’m also planning to use a paper disc method, where I would soak the paper discs into extracts of those spices and then put them into a lawn of grown microbes on a plate count agar tray,” Mr. Spagnoletti said
Some of the project was inspired by science research program teacher Deborah Beck, who recommended a few ideas and another segment came about through the teenager’s research into earlier experiments.
“I am most excited to learn how I can help people because spices have food preservation properties and they can be used as healthier substitutes instead of preservatives and chemicals,” Mr. Spagnoletti said.
A member of the National Honor Society, Mr. Spagnoletti has been taking advanced academic courses and earning top grades. An internship with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition led to a second internship in a lab on the Stony Brook University campus. The sophomore travels to Stony Brook after school.
While swimming is his main sport, Mr. Spagnoletti also played on the Blue Devil varsity tennis team this spring. He’s an all-around good guy; soft spoken and well-liked by everyone around the high school.