The Effect of Magnesium Nitrate and Calcium Nitrate on the Germination of Lettuce Seeds By: Nicole Callahan
Question • What effect do different concentrations of Magnesium Nitrate and Calcium Nitrate, two important secondary nutrients found in chemical fertilizers, have on lettuce seed germination?
Background • Fertilizer refers to any compound that contains one or more chemical elements, organic or inorganic, natural or synthetic, that is placed on or incorporated into the soil, or applied directly onto plants to achieve normal growth. • Magnesium, a secondary nutrient, is essential for crop quality because of the unique role it plays in the photosynthesis process. • Calcium is essential for good growth and structure.
Hypothesis • It was hypothesized that the lettuce seeds which received these nutrients would exhibit more growth than the lettuce seeds which received only distilled water (control); yet, also that the seeds that received calcium nitrate would exhibit even more growth, because calcium promotes healthy plant growth and structure.
Essentials: Bleach Distilled water Mg(NO3)2 Ca(NO3)3 Lettuce seeds Additional Materials: Petri dishes Filter paper 100mL graduated cylinder 100mL flask Pipette Ruler Safety goggles Gloves Apron Materials
Procedure I (Serial Dilutions) • Control • Measure 100mL of distilled water using graduated cylinder • .1M Solution (Solution 1) • Measure 100mL of Mg(NO3)2 using a graduated cylinder and pour into a flask • Repeat for Ca(NO3)2 • .01M Solution (Solution 2) • Take 10mL from solution 1 and pour into a fresh flask • Add 90mL of distilled water and mix thoroughly • Repeat for Ca(NO3)2 • .001M Solution (Solution 3) • Take 10mL from solution 2 and pour into fresh flask • Add 90mL of distilled water and mix thoroughly • Repeat for Ca(NO3)2 • .0001M Solution (Solution 4) • Take 10mL from • Add 90mL of distilled water and mix thoroughly • Repeat for Ca(NO3)2
Procedure II (Sterilizing Seeds) • Treat lettuce seeds is a 10% bleach solution • Let sit for 20 minutes • Rinse five times with distilled water
Procedure III (Arranging Seeds in Petri Dishes) • Soak six seeds of filter paper with control substance • Place 5 lettuce seeds onto each sheet of filter paper in Petri dishes (equally spread apart) • Place lid on Petri dish • Put all Petri dishes into a Ziploc bag • Label bag “control” • Soak three sheets of filter paper with Mg(NO3)2 solution 1 • Place 5 lettuce seeds onto each sheet of filter paper in Petri dishes (equally spread apart) • Place lids on Petri dishes • Put all Petri dishes into a Ziploc bag • Label bag “Mg(NO3)2 solution 1” • Repeat steps 6-10 for Mg(NO3)2 solutions 2-4 and Ca(NO3)2 solutions 1-4
Variables • Independent variable: concentration levels of Magnesium Nitrate and Calcium Nitrate • Dependent variable: the germination rate and root lengths of the lettuce seeds • Control: 100mL of distilled water • Constants: seeds from same place, chemicals from same place, same type of distilled water, same measuring methods, etc.
Conclusion • Hypothesis stated that the lettuce seeds which received the nutrients would exhibit more growth than the lettuce seeds which received only distilled water (control); yet, also that the seeds that received calcium nitrate would exhibit even more growth, because calcium promotes healthy plant growth and structure. • The hypothesis was partially supported. The seeds that received the nutrients grew more abundantly than the seeds that received only distilled water, with one exception. The .1M solution was detrimental to seed growth because of its high concentration in nutrients. • The hypothesis was rejected because the seeds that were placed in the calcium nitrate did not exhibit more growth than those placed in the magnesium nitrate.
Improvements • Sources of Error • Temperature fluctuations • Unhealthy seeds • Further Study • An attempt to acquire the primary nutrients • Various types of seeds could be used • Test the effect of all the nutrients found in fertilizers
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