Morgan Gray, Quinn Noonan, Megan Carpenter

Caffeine and its effects on plants growth cycle and epigenetics
Specific Supplies:
Plastic cups to grow plants in
Any type of plant seed (hopefully ones that are easy to grow :) )
Soil
Caffeine
What is the RATIONALE for your project?
In our study of epigenetics in plants, we hope to see what effect caffeine has on the
plant's growth cycle. All three of us drink caffeine on a semi-regular basis, and we would like to
investigate the possible toll it is taking on our bodies. There have been many studies on caffeine
and its effects, so we believe that our research will be supported by many sources, and will have
a general public interest.

State your HYPOTHESIS(ES), RESEARCH QUESTION(S), ENGINEERING GOAL(S),
EXPECTED OUTCOMES. How is this based on the rationale described above?
Hypothesis: How does the addition of caffeine to a plant's water affect its growth cycle?
Research questions: How would this research apply to humans? Will an addition of caffeine
affect the plant’s epigenetics?
Engineering goals: We hope to successfully grow groups of plants that will experience no
caffeine, low caffeine, medium caffeine and high levels of caffeine. We hope to have 3 plants in
each group.
Expected outcomes: We expect that the caffeine will stunt or alter the growth of the plant.

Describe the following in detail:
Procedures: Detail all procedures and experimental design including methods for data
collection. Describe only your project. Do not include work done by mentor or others.
Below is a mock procedure of what we believe will yield the best results:
1. Using the same type of seed, growing containers, and soil, plant 4 seeds in each growing
container
2. Make sure that there is soil above and below the seeds
3. Seperate plants out into 4 groups, no caffeine (control), low caffeine (group 1), medium caffeine
(group 2) and high levels (group 3) of caffeine

4. Every day water the plants as following:

Amount of
caffeine
concentrate
added to
50mL of
water

Control

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

0mg

12.5mg

25mg

38.5mg

5. After watering each plant with the specified amounts of caffeine, be sure to take pictures and
detailed observations of plant. Record plant height.
6. After repeating steps 4 and 5 for two weeks, record final data
7. Make graphs of caffeine vs. plant height
8. Draw conclusions about research

Risk and Safety: Identify any potential risks and safety precautions needed.
Because plants and caffeine are not dangerous to humans, there are little safety risks and
precautions that need to be taken. We need to respect that the plants are living creatures.
Data Analysis: Describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that
answer research questions or hypotheses.
In order to study how the caffeine affects the growth, we will record height
measurements of the plants daily. Then at the end of the experiment we can compare
height to caffeine intake on a graph. This will give a detailed picture of how the caffeine
affected plants grew compared to the control group. We will also take detailed
observations and compare them to the control group at the end of the experiment.
Discussion of Results and Conclusions: Discuss the data/results and the conclusions that
can be drawn.
We hope to be able to draw conclusions about how caffeine affects the epigenetics
and growth cycle of plants.

Bibliography: List at least ve (5) major references (e.g. science journal articles, books, internet
sites) from your literature review. If you plan to use vertebrate animals, one of these references
must be an animal care reference.

Caffine affecing pregnancy:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1336160/pdf/cmaj00255-0051.pdf
Caffeine affecting plants:
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01279564
Effects of chemicals (including caffeine) on plants: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4043708?
seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
Caffeine and the brain:
http://pharmrev.aspetjournals.org/content/51/1/83.l
History of Epigenetics:
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.4161/epi.1.2.2762

Control Group
Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Plant #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

1

0

1

20

46

2

0

1.5

23

39.5

3

0

1

22

45

Average

0

1.17

21.67

43.5

Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Plant #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

1

0

0.5

19

29.5

2

0

1

23

30.5

3

0

1

18

25

Average

0

0.83

20

28.33

Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Plant #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

1

0

1

9

13

2

0

0.5

8

17

3

0

0.5

2

5.5

Average

0

0.67

6.33

11.83

Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Plant #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

1

0

0

0.5

1.5

2

0

0

0

0

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

3

0

0

0

0

Average

0

0

0.17

0.5

Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Plant #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

3

0

0

0

0

Average

0

0

0

0

Day 3

Day 6

Day 10

Day 14

Group #

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Height (cm)

Control

0

1

20

46

1

0

0.5

19

29.5

2

0

0.67

6.33

11.83

3

0

0

0.17

0.5

4

0

0

0

0

Group 4

Average Growth

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