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Effect Of Acid Rain On Seed Germination Coursework

Effect of Acid Rain on Germination

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Effect of Acid Rain on Germination

A seed is formed from the ovule of a flower as a result of
fertilisation, and is then dispersed from the parent plant. If the
seed lands in a suitable place, it will germinate. Germination is the
growth of the embryo inside the seed, eventually growing into a mature
plant.

CONDITIONS NEEDED FOR GERMINATION

OXYGEN - is used for aerobic respiration, which provides the energy
for many chemical changes involved in the food reserves and making the
new cytoplasm and cell walls of the growing seedling.

TEMPERATURE - a rise in temperature speeds up most chemical reactions,
including those taking place in living organisms. Germination,
therefore occurs more rapidly at high temperatures (up to about 40
degrees centigrade). Above 45 degrees centigrade, the enzymes are
denatured and the seedlings would be killed. Below 0-5 degrees
centigrade, germination may not start at all.

WATER - before the changes necessary for germination take place, the
seed must absorb water. The water which reaches the embryo and
cotyledons is used to:

* Activate the enzymes in the seed

* Help the conservation of starch to sugar, and proteins to amino
acids

* Transport the sugar in solution from the cotyledons to the growing
regions

WHAT HAPPENS DURING GERMINATION?

A typical seed stores carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. It also
stores minerals and vitamins. As a result of 'imbibition' (the initial
uptake of water by a seed) and osmosis (water travels from cell to
cell in the seed by osmosis) the embryo becomes hydrated and this
activates enzymes. The enzymes then break down the food reserves the
seed needs for growth.

Proteases

[IMAGE]Proteins Amino acids

Carbohydrases

[IMAGE]Polysaccharides Sugars

Amylase Maltase

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Starch Maltose Glucose

Lipases

[IMAGE]Lipids Fatty Acids + Glycerol

The soluble products of digestion then go to the growth regions of the
embryo, enabling the seed to grow.

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Related Searches

Germination         Acid Rain         Amino Acids         Taking Place         Seed         Degrees         Chemical Reactions         Living Organisms        






ENZYMES

Acid or alkaline conditions alter the chemical properties of enzymes.
Most enzymes work best at a particular pH level, some enzymes cannot
work at all. The pH at which an enzymes works best is called its
optimum pH.

HYPOTHESIS

I think that acid rain will decrease the rate of germination, or even
stop germination altogether as the acid gets stronger.

[IMAGE]

Rate of

germination

Strength of acid

This is because the acid will denature the enzymes which help break
down the food reserves for the seed. Without these food reserves, the
plant will not be able to grow or even germinate. The acid will
denature the enzymes because enzymes work best at a certain pH and the
acid will be a higher pH level than that.

METHOD

To see what affect acid rain has on germination, I am going to try and
germinate cress seeds with different concentrations of acid.

INDEPENDENT VARIABLE

I will mix acid with water to from the different concentrations. I
will do this using a syringe. This will accurately measure the volume
of the acid and water and will easily put the acid and water in the
Petri dish.

I am going to have 11 petri dishes with cress seeds in and have a
different concentration of acid in each dish. The range of values I am
going to use are:

ACID (%)

ACID (CM3)

WATER (%)

WATER (CM3)

100

20

0

0

90

18

10

2

80

16

20

4

70

14

30

6

60

12

40

8

50

10

50

10

40

8

60

12

30

6

70

14

20

4

80

16

10

2

90

18

0

0

100

20

Using this wide range of values will give me accurate results because
I will be able to take an average and see any anomalies.

DEPENDENT VARIABLE

I will measure the total length of any roots, shoots or leaves that
have germinated from the seed. I am going to measure this because if
the length of the plant decreased as the concentration of acid rain
decreases it will help prove my hypothesis.

I am going to measure the total length of everything because, from
doing my preliminary experiment I discovered that some seedlings did
not get as far as growing shoots or leaves. If I, for example, decided
to measure the shoot then this would be unfair to the seeds that had
germinated but were still only growing roots.

I am also going to measure the number of seeds that germinated in each
concentration of acid. This will help me prove my hypothesis if the
number of seeds germinated decreases as the strength of the acid
increases.

I am going to measure the lengths of the plants precisely by using a
magnifying glass and a length of card with millimetres marked on as it
is easier to read the length from there than a ruler.

In doing my preliminary experiment, I noticed that not all of the
plants grew in a straight line. I am going to try and pull them as
straight as possible to get the most accurate lengths of the plants,
giving me more accurate readings overall.

CONTROL VARIABLES

The factors I am going to try and keep constant are oxygen,
temperature and the total amount of acid and water. This is because
from doing my background research I found out that they all affect
germination. Not keeping them constant would mean an unfair test and
inaccurate results.

The amounts of acid and water I will use will always add up to 20cm3.
In my preliminary experiment, I decided on 20cm3 because it was enough
for all the seeds but not too much.

To make my results as accurate as possible, I am going to use 10 cress
seeds in each concentration of acid and then take an average. Using 10
cress seeds will also show a clearer pattern because I will be able to
see any anomalies.

I used 10 cress seeds in my preliminary experiment and there was
enough space for them all to grow and enough seeds to get reasonable
results.

APPARATUS

* Petri dishes (11)

* Syringe

* Beakers (2)

* Cotton wool

* Cress seeds

* Water

* Acid

In doing my preliminary experiment, I decided to put the seeds on
cotton wool instead of filter paper. Although the cotton wool made it
harder for me to pull out the seeds to measure, it soaked up the water
and acid which was vital for my experiment. The filter didn't soak up
enough water or acid.

SAFETY

I am going to wear goggles to protect my eyes from any acid, tuck in
my tie, tie back long hair and generally be careful not to spill the
acid.

RESULTS

TABLE TO SHOW THE LENGTHS OF THE SEEDLINGS IN DIFFERENT CONCENTRATIONS
OF ACID

% OF ACID

% OF WATER

LENGTH OF SEEDLING (MM)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

average

100

0

1

1.5

1

0

3

3

1

0

1

1

1.25

90

10

2.5

2

1

1

2

1

0

2

2

2

1.55

80

20

3

3

0

0

2

1

2

2

1

2.5

1.65

70

30

4

3

3

3

2

2

1

2

3

3.5

2.65

60

40

2

3

3

1

2

4

3

3

2

4

2.7

50

50

2

2

4

4

5

0

1

3

6

5

3.2

40

60

4

1

2

2

3

5

6

6

7

8

4.4

30

70

9

17

4

4

5

6

7

9

10

11

8.2

20

80

19

0

13

25

6

15

17

24

7

10

13.6

10

90

119

113

126

131

103

75

98

110

0

111

98.6

0

100

119

109

98

102

107

61

156

52

122

109

103.5

TABLE TO SHOW HOW MANY SEEDS GERMINATED IN THE DIFFERENT
CONCENTRATIONS OF ACID

% OF ACID

% OF WATER

NO. OF SEEDS GERMINATED

NO. OF SEEDS NOT GERMINATED

100

0

8

2

90

10

9

1

80

20

8

2

70

30

10

0

60

40

10

0

50

50

9

1

40

60

10

0

30

70

10

0

20

80

9

1

10

90

9

1

0

100

10

0

CONCLUSION

It is clear from my first graph that acid rain does affect
germination. The graph has negative correlation and shows that as the
percentage of acid increased, the length of the seedling decreased.
The graph slopes steeply downwards at the beginning from 103.5 mm to
13.6 mm. This shows that the acid affects the growth a lot because
'100% acid, 0% water' and '90% acid, 10% water' had averages of 98.6
mm and 103.5 mm while all the other seedlings averages were under 15
mm. With anything more than 10% acid the seedlings not grow very well.

This is because the enzymes in the seed were being denatured by the
acid. Seeds have food reserves (in the forms of starch, proteins,
lipids, polysaccharides). The enzymes break down the food reserves the
seed needs for growth.

Proteases

[IMAGE]Proteins Amino acids

Carbohydrases

[IMAGE]Polysaccharides Sugars

Amylase Maltase

[IMAGE][IMAGE]Starch Maltose Glucose

Lipases

[IMAGE]Lipids Fatty Acids + Glycerol

Without all these food reserves, the seed is unable to grow to its
potential.

Acid or alkaline conditions alter the chemical properties of enzymes.
Most enzymes work best at a particular pH level. Without this
particular pH level, some enzymes cannot work at all.

As I increased the percentage of acid, it started denaturing the
enzymes because they were not at the optimum pH and couldn't function
properly. The enzymes being denatured meant that they couldn't break
down the food reserves the plant needed for growth, meaning the plant
did not grow.

The rate of growth was not affected by water because water is needed
for germination. As the seed becomes hydrated, this activates the
enzymes needed for breaking down the food.

My second graph has no real pattern to it. It shows that all 10 seeds
germinated in 100% water but only 8 germinated in 100% acid. This
could be that because the enzymes are being denatured by the acid and
unable to break down the food reserves needed for growth, that the
seeds are growing/germinating slowly.

Most of the results I obtained support my original prediction. The
length of the seedling did decrease as the percentage of acid
increased. However, I did expect less than 8 seeds to germinate in
100% acid. This is because water activates the enzymes for breaking
down food reserves enabling the plant to grow. I thought that 100%
acid wouldn't activate these enzymes but it did (before denaturing
them).

EVALUATION

The only problem I had whilst doing the practical work was taking the
seedlings from the cotton wool to measure them. They kept getting
caught in the cotton wool and I had to be very careful not to break
them.

Filter paper enables you to easily pick up the seedlings to measure,
but it doesn't absorb much water so I chose cotton wool. If I had to
repeat the experiment, I would place cotton wool at the bottom of the
petri dish to hold the water and acid, and then place filter paper on
top so I could measure the seedlings easily.

I think that my data is reliable because I used 10 seeds and then took
the average. I also used 11 different concentrations if acid and water
because this would hopefully make a clearer pattern then using fewer
concentrations and help me see any anomalies.

I could improve the reliability of my data by using more than 10 seeds
(20+) and then taking the average of those. However, I do think that
10 seeds are enough to get sufficient results. I could also use more
concentrations of acid, going up every 5% instead of every 10%.

I have no real anomalous results.

To provide additional evidence to support my conclusion I could do
more investigations about acid rain affecting germination. For
example, I could do exactly the same experiment but use a variety of
different seeds apart from cress seeds. This would help me to find out
if my conclusion applies to all seeds.

I could extend my investigation into related fields by maybe doing on
experiments on already germinated plants to see if acid rain affects
the growth of a plant after germination. I would germinate some seeds
in 100% water and then add different concentrations of acid to see if
they had any affect on the growth of the plant.



Material Availability

Almost all high school labs will have access to pH paper. Everything else can be purchased at the grocery store.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

Set-up is minimal, and can be completed in an hour, after purchasing supplies. Data collection is also minimal- 20 minutes every few days. The growth of seedlings, however, simply takes time, so budget for approximately three weeks.

This project hopes to determine whether pH- and by extension, acid rain- has any discernable effect on the germination and growth of seedlings, particularly aricultural crops.

The goals are to quantify growth of seedlings at various pH levels, and to speculate about the effect of acid rain in non-laboratory conditions.

  • 1 bag of pinto ( or other agricultural) beans.
  • Distilled vinegar or concentrated lemon juice
  • Distilled water- at least two gallons
  • Ziploc Baggies, medium size
  • Paper towels
  • Sharpie markers
  • String
  • Metric ruler
  • Plastic pipettes.
  • pH testing stripsAll materials are available at the grocery store, with the exception of pH testing strips and pipettes, which are generally available in most school laboratories. Any type of eyedroppers, or even straws, can be substituted for pipettes. Links are provided below to purchase these materials should they not be available at school.

Acid rain is becoming more and more of a problem for our world. Outside of industrial pollutants, like nitrogenous and sulfuric oxides, even excess carbon dioxide can affect the pH of rainwater. One question that arises is ‘How will agriculture be affected?” plants rely on rainwater, and obviously have no control over its acidity.

We can explore one aspect of plant growth- germination and initial growth- fairly simply. Pinto beans ( phaseous vulgarus) are a major agricultural crop, and fairly easy test subjects to work with. We can moniter how many plants germinate and thrive under different acidic conditions in order to better determine the effect of acid rain will have on the agricultural sector.

Research Questions
  • What is pH, and what does it measure?
  • How is acid rain created?
  • What is the normal pH of rain?
  • How does acidity affect plant growth?
  • What are some of the major agricultural staples throughout the world?
  • What is germination?
  • What is the ‘anatomy’ of a seed?
  • What is the ‘anatomy’ of a seedling?
  • What are the initial parts of a growing seedling?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

Seed, seedling, pH, aciditiy, acid rain, commercial pollutants, air pollution, radicle, stem, cotylydon.

Solutions:

  1. Mix 3 parts distilled water with 1 part vinegar to make your first solution. Accuracy in mixing is not the most important part here- measuring the acidity is.2: Use the pH paper to determine the acidity of the solution.
  2. Add either water or vinegar to get the pH to a whole number. It’s easier to add vinegar than water, as you will need less- for instance if the initial mix has a pH of 3.5, it may be easier to add a little vinegar to get the pH to 3 than it would be to add a lot of water to get the pH to 4.
  3. Take approximately 1/10th of your initial solution and mix it with 9/10ths water.
  4. The second solution should be approximately one pH level more than your initial solution. For example, if you got the initial pH solution to 3, than this solution might be 4.2.
  5. Add either water or vinegar to get the pH to a whole number.
  6. Note: you don’t really need to get the pH to a whole number, as long as you are comfortable working with decimals. The goal is to get three solutions with three different pH values. The actual values don’t matter too much, as long as they are at close to I pH ‘point’ in difference. Or even more. Just not to close. Or too far.For example, three good pH’s might be 3.3, 4.7, and 6.0. Three bad ones would be 3.3, 3.4 and 6.9.
  7. Repeat steps 2-5 to get a third solution.
  8. Set aside one solution that is just distilled water to serve as a control for your experiment.
  9. You are now ready to set-up the experiment!

Set-up

  1. Count out 40 pinto beans, 40 ziploc bags, and 40 paper towels or napkins.
  2. Label 10 bags for each pH solution with the sharpie, on the outside of the bag. For example, if you have pH solutions of 3, 4, 6 , and 7, you should have 10 bags labled “pH 3”, 10 bags labeled “pH 4” etc. etc.
  3. Place one bean in each of the 40 napkins and place one bean/napkin in each of the 40 ziploc bags.
  4. Add the correct pH solution to each bag, using a different ( or at least cleaned) pipette for each solution. The napkins should be mostly damp throughout, without being saturated- if there is solution collecting at the bottom of the bag, you’ve added too much. Iikewise, if most of the napkin is still dry, you’ve added too little.
  5. Place all the bags in a dark, warm place, like in a cupboard or under the kitchen sink.
  6. In three days, open the bags to take your first data!

To take data

  1. On day three, open up your baggies and record the length of all of your seedlings in cm. The first day you open them, they are bound to be very small, if they have even sprouted at all- some may not.
  2. If there is no growth, record the length as 0 cm.
  3. For the remainder of the experiment, measure from the tip of the primary root to the ends of the cotylydons (first leaves).
  4. The seedling is not likely to be straight- place a string against the plant and fit it into all the ‘bendy’ parts. Mark on the string where the seedling began and ended, and straighten the string out.
  5. Place the string against the ruler an measure.
  6. Do this for all plants, and record your data in a table.
  7. Repeat this procedure every two days for 14 days.
  8. At the end, graph your data and draw a conclusion!

You should take show all the data you took during the experiment in a table form. You should also include a graph of growth averages over time- a line graph should do nicely. Any other statistical analysis- percent change, X-squared or t-tests (high school only)- can be added as well, if you know how to do them.

While no diagrams are required, it is always a good idea to photo document the process so you have great visuals for your science fair board!

Seed and Seedling diagrams can be found at these websites:

http://www.uq.edu.au/_School_Science_Lessons/9.103.GIF

http://www2.puc.edu/Faculty/Gilbert_Muth/art0001.jpg

pH strips can be purchased here:

http://www.indigo.com/Test-Strips/pH-test-strips.html

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