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THE EFFECTS OF HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (H2O2) ON THE ROOTS OF PLANT CUTTINGS

INTRODUCTION Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is known as a common disinfectant; however, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also approved the use of hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient in pesticides. The EPA has deemed hydrogen peroxide safe for use on non-food and food crops, both before and after harvest, because it is an effective algicide and fungicide at low concentrations. It also breaks down quickly and safely in the environment, into water (H2O) and molecular oxygen (O2), as shown in Equation 1. Equation 1: 2 molecules of hydrogen peroxide 2 H2O2 2 molecules of water + 1 molecule of oxygen 2 H2O + O2

Algae and fungus can often attack not just leaves and stems, but also roots, and even seeds. Agricultural scientists are always searching for safe compounds to use on seeds and roots to protect them from pests. In this science fair project, you will investigate whether or not hydrogen peroxide is also safe for use on the roots of plant cuttings, and on seeds during germination. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This project investigates:

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Whether hydrogen peroxide has any effects on seed germination or on roots of plant cuttings.

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Whether hydrogen peroxide can repel insects from the plant cuttings and seeds.

HYPOTHESIS

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Hydrogen Peroxide affects seed germination and insect repellence. Hydrogen Peroxide has an effect on seed germination and insect repellence.

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this science fair project is to find out the effect of different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on the roots of plant cuttings, and on seed germination.

MATERIALS
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Graduated cylinder, 250-mL Bowls (4) Sealable sandwich baggies (4 for each type of seed you are testing)

250 mL of water c. or other surface. If you don't have a graduated cylinder. Make sure the seed type matches what is labeled on the outside of the baggie. such as mung beans. Low hydrogen peroxide: 5 mL (1 tsp. Medium hydrogen peroxide: 15 mL (3 tsp. low. you can use a 1-cup measuring cup (250-mL) and a teaspoon measuring spoon (5-mL). label sandwich baggies with the name of the seeds you're germinating. 6. and the growing solution. . fold a paper towel or paper napkin so that it lies flatly inside the bag. With a permanent marker.) of hydrogen peroxide. Place 10 seeds in a row across the paper towel inside each bag. broccoli. until the paper towel inside is evenly moist. medium. Spread the baggies on a table. indoors where they can get sunlight. 7. You can choose how many types of crops you want to test (it is OK to test just one). No hydrogen peroxide: 250 mL (1 cup) of water b. Use the 250-mL graduated cylinder to make four batches of growing solution. but not dripping wet. 3. Spoon y METHODOLOGY 1. garbanzo beans. Arrange the moistened paper towel and seeds in the plastic baggie as shown above. Make sure all the baggies are properly sealed. In each plastic baggie. and high hydrogen peroxide growing solution. Spoon in the type of growing solution labeled on the outside of the bag. 4. black-eyed beans. 250 mL of water d. Each growing solution will have a different concentration of hydrogen peroxide: a. 250 mL of water 2.y Seeds from a crop. counter. Pour each solution into a bowl once it is mixed. High hydrogen peroxide: 30 mL (5 tsp.) of hydrogen peroxide.) of hydrogen peroxide. There should be a total of four bags (representing each different growing solution) for each type of seed: none. but you'll need a total of 40 seeds for each type of crop you test. Figure 1. 5. bok choy.

Visit the websites listed in the Bibliography. butter knife. Check on the bags daily for 10 days and record in a data table in your lab notebook how many seeds have germinated in each bag. around the base of the cutting. Get the containers for your cuttings ready by washing them with soap and water. but do not make all the cuttings at once. Record the amount in your lab notebook. 9. but gently. .8. etc. or they will dry out and might not grow well. In total. Make as many liters of growing solution as you need by doubling. The sand particles must be large enough so that there is room in between the sand grains for air to penetrate and bring the growing plant roots oxygen. one at a time. place a clear plastic baggie over the cutting and container. tripling. Make four batches of growing solution. Did hydrogen peroxide concentration affect seed germination? Testing the Plant Cuttings' Roots 1. You can use a sterilized (with rubbing alcohol) skewer. To prevent the cutting from drying out. Sterilize any tools you'll be using to move the sand or to cut the plants by wiping them with paper towels soaked in rubbing alcohol.) of hydrogen peroxide in 1 L of water c. How to make each cutting depends on the type of plant from which you are cutting. Medium hydrogen peroxide: 60 mL (12 tsp. 3. these recipes: a. 9. too much heat might build up in the plastic tenting and kill the cutting. Make sure all the containers are in the same location. label each container with the type of plant and type of growing solution you'll be putting in there. Make your first cutting and then immediately follow steps 7±9. 6.) of hydrogen peroxide in 1 L of water 4. The exact quantity of the growing solutions you'll need depends on the size and number of containers you're using. Repeat steps 6±9 for each cutting. then fill each container ¾ of the way full with the sand. Low hydrogen peroxide: 20 mL (4 tsp. 5. 8. place it 1-2 inches deep in the sand. a. b. Allow the sand to cool completely. Make graphs showing the percentage of seeds that germinated and the average time to germination for each type of plant in each growing solution. for more information. above. Place all of the plastic-tented cutting containers in an indoor location where they get only indirect sunlight. High hydrogen peroxide: 100 mL (20 tsp. Using masking tape and a permanent marker. If they get direct sunlight. 11. Then wipe the inside of each container with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol to sterilize the container. a. Sterilize the sand by placing it in an oven-proof container (like a casserole dish or baking pan) and heating it in the oven at 200°F for 30 minutes. Record all observations in your lab notebook. depending on the length of the cutting. 2. Make sure the sand is coarse. 10. and each with a different concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Add enough of the growing solution to moisten the sand. 7. No hydrogen peroxide: 1 liter (L) of water b. Secure the open end of the plastic bag to the sides of the container using a rubber band. you'll need at least 12 cuttings (3 or more replicates for each of the growing solutions) of each plant type you want to test. Immediately after making each cutting. or other such tool to create a hole for the cutting.) of hydrogen peroxide in 1 L of water d. Press the sand firmly. Note exactly how much growing solution you used and add the same quantity of growing solution to all subsequent cuttings.

You may also want to try one of the other measurement options from the Science Buddies Measuring Plant Growth guide.12. 14. 15. d. With a pen or pencil. b. While the plastic is open. Using a ruler. Add more of the appropriate growing solution if the sand appears to be getting dry. Re-secure the plastic tenting. Keep track of the data in a data table in your lab notebook. Note all your observations in your lab notebook. Place each cutting. daily. Do not let the cuttings dry out! c. Each day: a. check the moisture level of the sand. Include drawings if you'd like. On the 18th day. Check the condition of the cuttings. Open each plastic tenting for a few minutes to allow fresh air in. Create graphs illustrating your data. Record what the part of the cutting that is above the sand looks like in a data table in your lab notebook. 16. for 18 days. insert a butter knife underneath the sand to gently lift up each cutting and examine the roots. Did the concentration of hydrogen peroxide have an effect on the quantity of root growth? What about the visual appearances of the roots? . 13. on a piece of paper. measure each of the tracings and calculate total root length for each plant. trace the roots on the paper. with its roots.