Audrey Peel

Hello, my name is Audrey Peel.

I’m a researcher at Princeton High School studying the different yeast communities that live in sourdough starter, inspired by my love of baking. My sourdough research could lead to valuable insights about microbial community structure and succession, which could later be applied to larger microbiomes such as the human gut. In the future, I hope to study the intersections of food science, nutrition, and environmental science in areas such as urban agriculture.

Current Research Project

The Effect of Flour Type on The Number and Strain of Yeast Communities in Sourdough Starters Over 14 Days, From Initial Establishment to Climax Community

Sourdough starters are a mix of flour and water, providing a home for many different strains of fungi and bacteria. The fungi found in sourdough are mostly yeast, while the bacteria are often lactobacillus or acetic acid bacteria. However, the fascinating thing about sourdough starters is how many different species of organisms thrive in each individual mixture- and there’s still so much to learn about the species of microorganisms that grow. My experiment studies when and what yeast species grow in sourdough starters made with rye, all purpose, and sorghum flours.

Past Research and Presentations

The Effect of Sourdough Starter on Cherry Belle Radish Growth
How does sourdough starter affect Cherry Belle radish germination rate, root growth, and plant growth (cm) when radishes are watered with water-sourdough solutions of varying concentrations? Too much sourdough decreased radish height, and the graph trend demonstrated that if the experiment were continued, the data may show that the smallest concentrations of sourdough benefit growth.

Presented at Mercer Science and Engineering Fair
Presented the project, The Effect of Sourdough Starter on Cherry Belle Radish Growth.