ACT Science : How to find synthesis of data in biology

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #432 : Biology

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterial organism that can cause disease in people after eating improperly canned foods. As a result of this risk, canning foods involves bringing contents to high pressures and temperatures, thus killing the inactive form of Clostridium, called a spore.

Table 1 shows the ability of a scientist to detect spores as a function of the peak temperature and pressure reached during the process used for canning green beans.

Peak Temperature

Peak Pressure

Spores/Cubic Millimeter

100 C

50 PSI

5

100 C

100 PSI

3

150 C

50 PSI

2

150 C

100 PSI

1

 

Table 2 shows the infectious dose of spores per cubic millimeter necessary to cause illness in four populations. 

Population

Minimum Concentration of Spores

Children <1 Year

1

Children 1-4 Years

1

Children 5-10 years

4

Children > 10 years and Adults

8

 

A scientist discovers that, despite adhering to appropriate canning methods as described above, an outbreak of disease due to Clostridium botulinum has taken place in a Minnesota school. She visits the school and collects food samples to determine the cause of the outbreak. While compiling data at the school, she discovers that there are an increasing number of cases of a new strain of Clostridium botulinum. Upon investigation, the scientist finds that all children who attend the school are older than 5 years of age.

 



A food manufacturer is preparing a canned product that is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration for consumption by children older than 5 years of age. Which of the following is the minimum temperature and pressure needed during their canning process?

Possible Answers:

100 C and 100 PSI

150 C and 100 PSI

150 C and 50 PSI

50 C and 50 PSI

150 C and 150 PSI

Correct answer:

100 C and 100 PSI

Explanation:

At a temperature of 100 C and a pressure of 100 PSI, there are only 3 measured spores/cubic millimeter. The minimum infectious dose for children older than 5 is 4 spores/cubic millimeter.

Example Question #433 : Biology

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterial organism that can cause disease in people after eating improperly canned foods. As a result of this risk, canning foods involves bringing contents to high pressures and temperatures, thus killing the inactive form of Clostridium, called a spore.

Table 1 shows the ability of a scientist to detect spores as a function of the peak temperature and pressure reached during the process used for canning green beans.

Peak Temperature

Peak Pressure

Spores/Cubic Millimeter

100 C

50 PSI

5

100 C

100 PSI

3

150 C

50 PSI

2

150 C

100 PSI

1

 

Table 2 shows the infectious dose of spores per cubic millimeter necessary to cause illness in four populations. 

Population

Minimum Concentration of Spores

Children <1 Year

1

Children 1-4 Years

1

Children 5-10 years

4

Children > 10 years and Adults

8

 

A scientist discovers that, despite adhering to appropriate canning methods as described above, an outbreak of disease due to Clostridium botulinum has taken place in a Minnesota school. She visits the school and collects food samples to determine the cause of the outbreak. While compiling data at the school, she discovers that there are an increasing number of cases of a new strain of Clostridium botulinum. Upon investigation, the scientist finds that all children who attend the school are older than 5 years of age.

 

Considering the population of the Minnesota school experiencing the Clostridium botulinum outbreak, which of the following would have been most appropriate as a minimum standard for their canning process BEFORE the emergence of the new strain?

Possible Answers:

A process that reached at least 50 C and 100 PSI during canning

A process that reached at least 150 C and 150 PSI during canning

A process that reached at least 150 C and 100 PSI during canning

A process that reached at least 100 C and 100 PSI during canning

A process that reached at least 100 C and 150 PSI during canning

Correct answer:

A process that reached at least 100 C and 100 PSI during canning

Explanation:

The passage indicates that the school has no students under 5 years of age, and thus any canning process that reduced the concentration of spores to under 4 per cubic millimeter would be acceptable. Table 1 indicates that reaching 100 C and 100 PSI meets this standard.

Example Question #434 : Biology

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterial organism that can cause disease in people after eating improperly canned foods. As a result of this risk, canning foods involves bringing contents to high pressures and temperatures, thus killing the inactive form of Clostridium, called a spore.

Table 1 shows the ability of a scientist to detect spores as a function of the peak temperature and pressure reached during the process used for canning green beans.

Peak Temperature

Peak Pressure

Spores/Cubic Millimeter

100 C

50 PSI

5

100 C

100 PSI

3

150 C

50 PSI

2

150 C

100 PSI

1

 

Table 2 shows the infectious dose of spores per cubic millimeter necessary to cause illness in four populations. 

Population

Minimum Concentration of Spores

Children <1 Year

1

Children 1-4 Years

1

Children 5-10 years

4

Children > 10 years and Adults

8

 

A scientist discovers that, despite adhering to appropriate canning methods as described above, an outbreak of disease due to Clostridium botulinum has taken place in a Minnesota school. She visits the school and collects food samples to determine the cause of the outbreak. While compiling data at the school, she discovers that there are an increasing number of cases of a new strain of Clostridium botulinum. Upon investigation, the scientist finds that all children who attend the school are older than 5 years of age.

 

Which of the following is the most likely advice that the scientist would give parents of an 11 month old child regarding feeding the child green beans?

Possible Answers:

Based on the data presented, only canned green beans heated above 150 C and 100 PSI are safe for an 11 month old child

Based on the data presented, only canned green beans heated above 100 C and 100 PSI are safe for an 11 month old child

Based on the data presented, only canned green beans heated above 100 C and 150 PSI are safe for an 11 month old child

Based on the data presented, no canned green beans are safe for an 11 month old child

Based on the data presented, only canned green beans heated above 150 C and 150 PSI are safe for an 11 month old child

Correct answer:

Based on the data presented, no canned green beans are safe for an 11 month old child

Explanation:

The data presented only shows a reduction in spore concentration to the level of 1 spore per cubic millimeter. Thus, we cannot reliably make a recommendation regarding the level to which we need to heat or pressurize green beans in order to make them safe for a child under 1 year of age.

Example Question #435 : Biology

Clostridium botulinum is a bacterial organism that can cause disease in people after eating improperly canned foods. As a result of this risk, canning foods involves bringing contents to high pressures and temperatures, thus killing the inactive form of Clostridium, called a spore.

Table 1 shows the ability of a scientist to detect spores as a function of the peak temperature and pressure reached during the process used for canning green beans.

Peak Temperature

Peak Pressure

Spores/Cubic Millimeter

100 C

50 PSI

5

100 C

100 PSI

3

150 C

50 PSI

2

150 C

100 PSI

1

 

Table 2 shows the infectious dose of spores per cubic millimeter necessary to cause illness in four populations. 

Population

Minimum Concentration of Spores

Children <1 Year

1

Children 1-4 Years

1

Children 5-10 years

4

Children > 10 years and Adults

8

 

A scientist discovers that, despite adhering to appropriate canning methods as described above, an outbreak of disease due to Clostridium botulinum has taken place in a Minnesota school. She visits the school and collects food samples to determine the cause of the outbreak. While compiling data at the school, she discovers that there are an increasing number of cases of a new strain of Clostridium botulinum. Upon investigation, the scientist finds that all children who attend the school are older than 5 years of age.

 

According to the data presented, which of the following is the most likely concentration of spores detected in a sample from a canning facility that prepares canned green beans with a peak temperature of 100 C and a peak pressure of 75 PSI?

Possible Answers:

4 spores/millimeter

2 spores/millimeter

10 spores/millimeter

0 spores/millimeter

1 spores/millimeter

Correct answer:

4 spores/millimeter

Explanation:

Based on the information in Table 1, we would anticipate that canning with a peak temperature of 100 C and 75 PSI would produce an intermediate spore concentration compared to canning at 100 C/100 PSI and 100 C/50 PSI. The best choice is thus 4 spores/millimeter.

Example Question #436 : Biology

Understanding the biological features of different bacteria that allow them to grow in unwelcoming environments is necessary to treat and prevent human disease. Modern scientific laboratories, such as those in major hospitals, take blood, urine, and mucus samples from patients and culture them for bacterial growth. During the culturing process, laboratory technicians stain the growing bacteria for a component of their cell wall, the structure that provides shape and rigidity to the bacterium, through a process called Gram staining. Bacteria are typically classified as Gram Positive or Gram Negative, a distinction that is important in selecting the most effective antibiotic for treatment. Gram Positive bacteria appear purple under a microscope, while Gram Negative bacteria appear red. However, some bacteria do not Gram Stain and cannot be seen under a microscope when prepared this way.

Technicians also grow the bacteria on various types of plates containing special growth nutrients to determine which bacteria are causing a specific illness. If a bacterium is able to grow on a selective plate, meaning a plate that contains additional nutrients required for a specific bacterium to grow if it is present in the culture, doctors are able to determine the exact cause of a patient’s illness and prescribe targeted antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Bacteria that commonly cause human illness, their growth requirements, and their appearance on specific growth media are presented below in Table 1.

                                                           Table 1 

Screen_shot_2014-04-27_at_11.32.48_pm 

Scientists can take the bacteria cultured on the plate and further analyze their enzymes. Three enzymes—urease, catalase, and beta-lactamase—are important for bacterial survival against the human immune system. Urease is responsible for producing urea, a basic molecule that can counteract the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) activity of stomach acid. Catalase, on the other hand, helps bacteria neutralize toxic substances released from human immune cells, allowing them to survive oxidative stress in high-oxygen areas. Finally, beta-lactamase allows Gram Positive bacteria to break down antibiotics called penicillins. While this ability to break down penicillin and its related antibiotic ampicillin was not initially present, bacteria, especially E. coli, have adapted by developing the new enzyme beta-lactamase that opens the ring responsible for penicillin’s bactericidal activity, rending the antibiotic ineffective. This and other examples of antibiotic resistance are becoming more common and are making treatment of serious human diseases very challenging.

A bacterium that stains red in a Gram stain and requires lactose to grow is most likely to cause what disease? 

Possible Answers:

Urinary Tract Infection

Sinus Infection

Diarrhea

Pneumonia

Correct answer:

Urinary Tract Infection

Explanation:

The question asks us to use the provided table to choose the disease most likely caused by an organism with a specific growth media and Gram stain. We can see that a red-staining bacterium that requires lactose is most likely E. coli, which causes a Urinary Tract Infection.

Example Question #151 : How To Find Synthesis Of Data In Biology

Understanding the biological features of different bacteria that allow them to grow in unwelcoming environments is necessary to treat and prevent human disease. Modern scientific laboratories, such as those in major hospitals, take blood, urine, and mucus samples from patients and culture them for bacterial growth. During the culturing process, laboratory technicians stain the growing bacteria for a component of their cell wall, the structure that provides shape and rigidity to the bacterium, through a process called Gram staining. Bacteria are typically classified as Gram Positive or Gram Negative, a distinction that is important in selecting the most effective antibiotic for treatment. Gram Positive bacteria appear purple under a microscope, while Gram Negative bacteria appear red. However, some bacteria do not Gram Stain and cannot be seen under a microscope when prepared this way.

Technicians also grow the bacteria on various types of plates containing special growth nutrients to determine which bacteria are causing a specific illness. If a bacterium is able to grow on a selective plate, meaning a plate that contains additional nutrients required for a specific bacterium to grow if it is present in the culture, doctors are able to determine the exact cause of a patient’s illness and prescribe targeted antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Bacteria that commonly cause human illness, their growth requirements, and their appearance on specific growth media are presented below in Table 1.

                                                           Table 1 

Screen_shot_2014-04-27_at_11.32.48_pm 

Scientists can take the bacteria cultured on the plate and further analyze their enzymes. Three enzymes—urease, catalase, and beta-lactamase—are important for bacterial survival against the human immune system. Urease is responsible for producing urea, a basic molecule that can counteract the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) activity of stomach acid. Catalase, on the other hand, helps bacteria neutralize toxic substances released from human immune cells, allowing them to survive oxidative stress in high-oxygen areas. Finally, beta-lactamase allows Gram Positive bacteria to break down antibiotics called penicillins. While this ability to break down penicillin and its related antibiotic ampicillin was not initially present, bacteria, especially E. coli, have adapted by developing the new enzyme beta-lactamase that opens the ring responsible for penicillin’s bactericidal activity, rending the antibiotic ineffective. This and other examples of antibiotic resistance are becoming more common and are making treatment of serious human diseases very challenging.

A patient with a sinus infection goes to the doctor and a culture of mucus is taken to determine the species of bacteria causing the disease. The technician appropriately selects the Chocolate Agar base but forgets to add Factor X. What effect will this have on the bacterial culture?

Possible Answers:

Excess Growth

No Growth

Normal Growth

Cannot Be Predicted

Correct answer:

No Growth

Explanation:

This question asks us to predict the result of an experiment involving selective growth media. Using the chart provided, we can see that chocolate agar requires two factors to aid the growth of bacteria. Thus, we can infer that without these two additions, the bacteria will not be able to grow. This question tests inference based on scientific principles listed in the passage and the chart provided.

Example Question #152 : How To Find Synthesis Of Data In Biology

Understanding the biological features of different bacteria that allow them to grow in unwelcoming environments is necessary to treat and prevent human disease. Modern scientific laboratories, such as those in major hospitals, take blood, urine, and mucus samples from patients and culture them for bacterial growth. During the culturing process, laboratory technicians stain the growing bacteria for a component of their cell wall, the structure that provides shape and rigidity to the bacterium, through a process called Gram staining. Bacteria are typically classified as Gram Positive or Gram Negative, a distinction that is important in selecting the most effective antibiotic for treatment. Gram Positive bacteria appear purple under a microscope, while Gram Negative bacteria appear red. However, some bacteria do not Gram Stain and cannot be seen under a microscope when prepared this way.

Technicians also grow the bacteria on various types of plates containing special growth nutrients to determine which bacteria are causing a specific illness. If a bacterium is able to grow on a selective plate, meaning a plate that contains additional nutrients required for a specific bacterium to grow if it is present in the culture, doctors are able to determine the exact cause of a patient’s illness and prescribe targeted antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Bacteria that commonly cause human illness, their growth requirements, and their appearance on specific growth media are presented below in Table 1.

                                                           Table 1 

Screen_shot_2014-04-27_at_11.32.48_pm 

Scientists can take the bacteria cultured on the plate and further analyze their enzymes. Three enzymes—urease, catalase, and beta-lactamase—are important for bacterial survival against the human immune system. Urease is responsible for producing urea, a basic molecule that can counteract the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) activity of stomach acid. Catalase, on the other hand, helps bacteria neutralize toxic substances released from human immune cells, allowing them to survive oxidative stress in high-oxygen areas. Finally, beta-lactamase allows Gram Positive bacteria to break down antibiotics called penicillins. While this ability to break down penicillin and its related antibiotic ampicillin was not initially present, bacteria, especially E. coli, have adapted by developing the new enzyme beta-lactamase that opens the ring responsible for penicillin’s bactericidal activity, rending the antibiotic ineffective. This and other examples of antibiotic resistance are becoming more common and are making treatment of serious human diseases very challenging.

Assume that no laboratory tests are conducted to determine which bacteria are causing patients’ diseases and penicillin is prescribed to all patients. Using information presented in the passage, it could be inferred that the number of days required to treat an infection would do what?

Possible Answers:

Increase

Remain the same

Cannot be predicted

Decrease

Correct answer:

Increase

Explanation:

This question tests our overall understanding of the principles outlined in the passage. The specific antibiotic used in treating a patients disease is determined by gram staining and selective growth medium. Thus we can infer that selection of the inappropriate antibiotic would lead to decreased elimination of the bacteria and increased time to treatment.

Example Question #439 : Biology

Understanding the biological features of different bacteria that allow them to grow in unwelcoming environments is necessary to treat and prevent human disease. Modern scientific laboratories, such as those in major hospitals, take blood, urine, and mucus samples from patients and culture them for bacterial growth. During the culturing process, laboratory technicians stain the growing bacteria for a component of their cell wall, the structure that provides shape and rigidity to the bacterium, through a process called Gram staining. Bacteria are typically classified as Gram Positive or Gram Negative, a distinction that is important in selecting the most effective antibiotic for treatment. Gram Positive bacteria appear purple under a microscope, while Gram Negative bacteria appear red. However, some bacteria do not Gram Stain and cannot be seen under a microscope when prepared this way.

Technicians also grow the bacteria on various types of plates containing special growth nutrients to determine which bacteria are causing a specific illness. If a bacterium is able to grow on a selective plate, meaning a plate that contains additional nutrients required for a specific bacterium to grow if it is present in the culture, doctors are able to determine the exact cause of a patient’s illness and prescribe targeted antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Bacteria that commonly cause human illness, their growth requirements, and their appearance on specific growth media are presented below in Table 1.

                                                           Table 1 

Screen_shot_2014-04-27_at_11.32.48_pm 

Scientists can take the bacteria cultured on the plate and further analyze their enzymes. Three enzymes—urease, catalase, and beta-lactamase—are important for bacterial survival against the human immune system. Urease is responsible for producing urea, a basic molecule that can counteract the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) activity of stomach acid. Catalase, on the other hand, helps bacteria neutralize toxic substances released from human immune cells, allowing them to survive oxidative stress in high-oxygen areas. Finally, beta-lactamase allows Gram Positive bacteria to break down antibiotics called penicillins. While this ability to break down penicillin and its related antibiotic ampicillin was not initially present, bacteria, especially E. coli, have adapted by developing the new enzyme beta-lactamase that opens the ring responsible for penicillin’s bactericidal activity, rending the antibiotic ineffective. This and other examples of antibiotic resistance are becoming more common and are making treatment of serious human diseases very challenging.

According to the passage, the bacterium most likely to produce catalase would cause what type of infection?

Possible Answers:

Diarrhea

Urinary tract infection

Pneumonia

Stomach infection

Correct answer:

Pneumonia

Explanation:

The information in the last paragraph tells us that oxidase is used to help prevent against high oxygen environment damage. Thus, in order to chose an illness that would require oxidase-positive bacteria, we need to use the options provided in the table to find a high-oxygen area. The lungs are the best choice, given that they are required for breathing. Thus, pneumonia is the most likely answer. 

Example Question #440 : Biology

Understanding the biological features of different bacteria that allow them to grow in unwelcoming environments is necessary to treat and prevent human disease. Modern scientific laboratories, such as those in major hospitals, take blood, urine, and mucus samples from patients and culture them for bacterial growth. During the culturing process, laboratory technicians stain the growing bacteria for a component of their cell wall, the structure that provides shape and rigidity to the bacterium, through a process called Gram staining. Bacteria are typically classified as Gram Positive or Gram Negative, a distinction that is important in selecting the most effective antibiotic for treatment. Gram Positive bacteria appear purple under a microscope, while Gram Negative bacteria appear red. However, some bacteria do not Gram Stain and cannot be seen under a microscope when prepared this way.

Technicians also grow the bacteria on various types of plates containing special growth nutrients to determine which bacteria are causing a specific illness. If a bacterium is able to grow on a selective plate, meaning a plate that contains additional nutrients required for a specific bacterium to grow if it is present in the culture, doctors are able to determine the exact cause of a patient’s illness and prescribe targeted antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Bacteria that commonly cause human illness, their growth requirements, and their appearance on specific growth media are presented below in Table 1.

                                                           Table 1 

Screen_shot_2014-04-27_at_11.32.48_pm 

Scientists can take the bacteria cultured on the plate and further analyze their enzymes. Three enzymes—urease, catalase, and beta-lactamase—are important for bacterial survival against the human immune system. Urease is responsible for producing urea, a basic molecule that can counteract the bactericidal (bacteria-killing) activity of stomach acid. Catalase, on the other hand, helps bacteria neutralize toxic substances released from human immune cells, allowing them to survive oxidative stress in high-oxygen areas. Finally, beta-lactamase allows Gram Positive bacteria to break down antibiotics called penicillins. While this ability to break down penicillin and its related antibiotic ampicillin was not initially present, bacteria, especially E. coli, have adapted by developing the new enzyme beta-lactamase that opens the ring responsible for penicillin’s bactericidal activity, rending the antibiotic ineffective. This and other examples of antibiotic resistance are becoming more common and are making treatment of serious human diseases very challenging.

A patient with watery diarrhea comes to the doctor after eating spoiled food at a family event. The bacterium most likely responsible for causing the diarrhea would require what growth medium(a)? 

Possible Answers:

Sheep's blood

Lactose and chocolate agar

Lactose

Chocolate agar

Correct answer:

Lactose

Explanation:

According to the table, diarrhea is caused by B. cerrius. We can also see that B. cerrius requires lactose to grow; thus, lactose would need to be supplemented in the growth medium for this bacterium to grow. We do not need to add additional medium, like chocolate agar, because B. cerrius does not cause other diseases according to the information presented in the passage. 

Example Question #441 : Act Science

Current high levels of fossil fuel use, including coal-burning power plants and gasoline-powered automobiles, have helped contribute to the high concentrations of sulfur trioxide, SO3, found in the atmosphere. When sulfur trioxide and water interact, they can undergo the following chemical reaction to produce sulfuric acid, which is the main contributor to acid rain worldwide: 

 

Acid rain showers are particularly common near coal-burning power plants and large cities. These showers are responsible for significant economic damage to sidewalks, roads, and buildings. Scientists interested in studying the effects of acid rain often use basic substances like calcium carbonate, the main component of limestone buildings, and expose them to varying volumes of acid rain to determine what volume of acid rain is necessary to begin to erode a building. A sample graph of one scientist’s experiment is replicated below:

 Passage_ii_-_main_passage

Measuring acid and base levels is commonly done with a scale called pH, which uses the concentration of hydrogen ions to determine the acidity. Hydrogen ions are in a balance with hydroxide ions to give a scale with a range from 0 to 14. Values equal to or between 0 and 6.9 represent the acidic range where hydrogen ions predominate and values equal to or ranging from 7.1 and 14 represent the basic range where hydroxide ions predominate. Thus, the more hydrogen ions present, the more acidic the solution.

Scientists can tell when a titration (pH) experiment passes a certain pH using compounds called indicators. Indicators are usually colorless at pH levels below that of their specified color change. A table of indicators used by the above scientists and the pH at which they change colors is presented below. 

Passage_ii_table

According to the passage, why are acid rain showers more common near cities?

Possible Answers:

Increased Number of Clouds

None of the Other Answers

Increased Number of Cars

Increased Frequency of Rain

Correct answer:

Increased Number of Cars

Explanation:

The first part of the passage helps us understand how acid rain is created. We learn that emissions from automobiles and power plants are responsible for creating more sulfur trioxide, the key ingredient to creating acid rain.

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