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The Effect of Radiation on Plant and Fungi Life

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Katie Gaulton

on 16 December 2013

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Transcript of The Effect of Radiation on Plant and Fungi Life

I predict that the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the microwave will prohibit the plants from growing (it will kill them) and it will kill the yeast, prohibiting it from bubbling when stirred with warm water. I believe this because electromagnetic radiation has the power to destroy mass cell growth such as cancer and can be harmful to our health.
The following materials were used in this

-Microwave oven -Ruler
-4 small plant pots
-Alyssum (Lobularia Maritima) seeds
-4 small bowls
-Bakers yeast
-Measuring cup
-Paper towel





The purpose of this experiment is to determine if radiation has an effect on plant and fungi life. (i.e. Does the radiation destroy the life of plants and fungi? Does it slow or prohibit the growth of the plants? Does it prohibit or minimize the power of the yeast?)
The microwave is a technology very commonly used in society today. What many people do not realize is that microwaves emit electromagnetic radiation which can be harmful. Electromagnetic radiation is used in many devices today, even in radios and televisions. Microwaves use waves of electrical and magnetic energy moving together through space. Electromagnetic radiation ranges from the energetic x-rays to the less energetic radio frequency waves used in broadcasting. Microwaves fall into the radio frequency band of electromagnetic radiation. Microwaves should not be confused with x-rays. Radiation can be good and bad. It has the power to kill mass cell growth like cancer and save a persons life but also has the power to kill plant, fungi and bacteria life, which are all essential to our environment. Radiation can cause global disasters, for example the ongoing Fukushima radioactive disaster. Throughout this project you will learn how radiation affects plant and fungi life.
The Effect of Radiation on Plant and Fungi Life
Below is a link to an interesting video about the Fukushima disaster.
By: Katie Gaulton
Part one: Plants

1) I began this experiment by planting 150 Alyssum (Lobularia Maritima) flower seeds in a small pot filled with 12 teaspoons of soil.

2) I then placed 150 Alyssum seeds on a paper towel and microwaved them for 15 seconds. I then planted these seeds in a second pot exactly like the first one and labeled it "15 seconds".

3) I repeated this procedure except with the seeds microwaved for 30 seconds in pot 3 and 1 minute (60 seconds) in pot 4.

4) I planted the seeds on the 1st of December and monitored their growth for 15 days. I watered each pot once everyday day at 5:00pm with 2 tablespoons of water each. I ensured that they had enough sunlight and took notes and pictures.

Procedure Continued
Part two: Fungi

1) I began this part of the experiment by placing 1 teaspoon of traditional bakers yeast in a bowl (1 cup) of warm water.

2) I then placed 1 teaspoon of bakers yeast on a paper towel and microwaved it for 15 seconds. I then placed it in a bowl (1 cup) of warm water and stirred it.

3) I repeated this procedure except with the yeast microwaved for 30 seconds and 1 minute (60 seconds)

4) When stirring the yeast into the water I monitored the amount of bubbles it produced.
Independent Variable: The independent variable is the under study. The experimenter may alter or change it to examine the effect of the change. In the experiment with the plants, the independent variable is the amount of radiation. In the experiment with the fungi (yeast), the independent variable is the amount of radiation.

Dependent Variable: The dependent variable is the variable that changes as a result of the independent variable. It is the effect of the independent variable. In the experiment with the plants the dependent variable is the growth of the plants. In the experiment with the fungi (yeast), the dependent variable is the amount of bubbles produced when stirred.

Control Variables: The control variables are all the other factors that must be held constant to ensure that any changes in the experiment are due to solely the independent variable. In the experiment with the plants, the controls are: the amount of water, the setting, the room temperature, the temperature of the water, the time, the amount of sunlight, the amount of soil and the amount of seeds. In the experiment with the fungi (yeast), the controls are: the amount of water, the amount of yeast, the room temperature, the setting, the temperature of the water and the time.
The reason that I chose Alyssum for the plants was because they grow fairly quickly and are easy to maintain. For the fungi, I chose yeast because it's a good example of a fungi and it's easy to purchase. My results turned out as I predicted. With the plant experiment, the pot with the normal seeds (not radiated) began to grow as expected. 2 seeds began to sprout. They grew to be 10mm (1cm) tall. In pot number 2, which was radiated for 15 seconds, 1 seed began to sprout and it grew to be 6mm tall. In pot number 3, which was radiated for 30 seconds, 1 seed began to sprout and grew to be 3mm tall. In the 4th pot, which was radiated for 1 minute (60 seconds) there were no seeds that sprouted. As I predicted, as the amount of radiation increased, the growth of the plants decreased. The reason for the lack of growth in the radiated plant seeds is because radiation induces DNA damage and the higher the dose, the more damage to the plant's DNA it causes. Different plants may exhibit different tolerance levels, for example, some seeds and seedlings can survive higher doses than others. With the fungi (yeast) experiment, something similar happened. When yeast (not radiated) is stirred into warm water, it bubbles. When I did stirred the radiated yeast into the warm water, there were fewer and smaller bubbles. The non-radiated bowl had the most bubbles and the amount decreased in the bowls with the radiated yeast. There were a few bubbles in the bowl that had been radiated for 15 seconds, even fewer in the bowl that had been radiated for 30 seconds and practically none in the bowl that had been radiated for 1 minute (60 seconds). This is very similar to what happened with the plants and it too is because the radiation destroys and damages the organisms DNA. As we can see, radiation can have a huge affect on the life and growth of organisms which are vital to our ecosystems. Disasters like Fukushima which was 10 times worse than the Chernobyl disaster are caused due to radiation and if we do not prevent these things from happening, radiation could destroy our planet. Below is a link that demonstrates how radiation affects DNA (in human DNA in this case)

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