The effects of magnetic forces on plant growth
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The Effects of Magnetic Forces on Plant Growth. Robert Furatero Bio 10 (6). Question and Hypothesis. My original question that I originally came up for this project was “Do magnetic forces affect plant growth?”

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Presentation Transcript

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Question and Hypothesis

  • My original question that I originally came up for this project was “Do magnetic forces affect plant growth?”

  • To answer this question, I hypothesized that plant growth would be affected by magnets. Furthermore, I hypothesized that the roots would be repelled by magnetic forces.


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Background Information

  • The influence of the geomagnetic field on the growth of plants was first realized in 1862 by Louis Pasteur. During his experiments on fermentation, he discovered that the Earth’s magnetic field had a stimulating effect on plants’ growth processes.

  • Father of modern bio-magnetics Dr. Albert Roy Davies received a patent in 1950 for magnetically treating seeds to stimulate plant growth.

  • Magnetic forces are used in some areas today in agriculture (such as Mundimex Inc., or the country of Israel) primarily to stimulate and enhance plant growth.


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More Background Information

Starch grains can be seen in plant cells as black dots:

  • Plant roots contain starch molecules. These starch molecules (along with heavy fluid exerted in cells there, known as “protoplasm”) help the plant determine which way to grow (they both detect gravity).

  • Starch molecules can be affected by magnetic forces via diamagnetism.

  • Diamagnetism is a weak magnetic force present when there are other magnetic fields. The weak magnetic force repels the other magnetic field.

Magnet focuses a magnetic force which repels starch. (visual left, conceptual right)


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Experiment Design

  • In order to check if my hypothesis was correct, I decided to create an experiment in which a plant grown under the influence of a magnetic force would be compared with the growth of the same plant without a magnet.

  • I chose to grow string bean seeds for this experiment because they grow tall as well as quickly.

  • In one pot, I placed a bar magnet on a tilt against one side facing upward. The other pot was left alone. I then placed the soil and planted a few seeds in each pot (because not all seeds grow perfectly and for periodic data collections).


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Experiment Procedure

After One Week:

  • To test my hypothesis and gain proper results, I made sure that only one variable (the magnet) was the only one being changed.

  • I maintained a gave both plants reasonable and equal amounts of water at the same daily intervals.

  • I also gave both plants an equal amount of sunlight (8 hours) by placing both plants under a timed lamp. This would also ensure that the plant would grow straight up and not tilted towards the light source.

After Two Weeks:


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Experiment Results

  • After about two weeks of growing both plants, significant differences were found.

  • Both plants were grown at the same time (Nov. 22), but the magnet plant germinated one day before the control plant. Both plants then grew at the same rate for about a week. The magnet plant then seemed to stop growing a little while before the control plant. In the end, the magnet plant was about an inch shorter than the control plant.


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Experiment Results

  • After measuring its height above the soil, I uprooted both plants to check if the magnet affected the roots.

  • The control plant’s root was an inch long below soil level. The magnet plant’s root was two and a half inches long below soil level.

  • The magnet plant’s root had a bump slightly below soil level. The bump was tilted toward the magnet. Also, the tiny root hairs were all attracted to the magnet. The control plant did not have a bump and its root hairs were spread in random directions.



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Data Analysis

  • The data from this experiment shows that the magnet attracted the starch molecules found in the roots.

  • The data from this experiment also shows that the magnet stimulated plant growth due to the fact that the magnet plant germinated first.

  • The plants that I grew both died before they could reach this day. This might be due to the fact that halfway through the experiment time span, they were exposed to varying climates.


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Conclusions

  • After conducting this experiment, I can conclude that plants are affected by magnetic forces and that some of my hypothesis was correct.

  • However, I can also conclude that half of my hypothesis was incorrect. The plant was attracted to the magnet, not repelled by it


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Sources

  • Diamagnetism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamagnetism

  • Sowing Seeds in a Magnetic Field-http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/news/2003/news-seeds.asp

  • Magnetism in Agriculture--http://www.mundi.com/agrieng3.html

  • Do magnetic fields have an effect on plant growth?--http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2006-08/1156020024.Cb.r.html


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