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Do Plants Promote Pesticide Breakdown? *

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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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Abstract

When pesticides are applied to protect crops, run-off of potentially harmful pesticides is a major problem. Can water plants such as hardstem bulrush, common cattail, parrotfeather and smooth scouring rush promote pesticide breakdown? If so, diversion of irrigation run-off into plant-filled ponds could help reduce pesticide pollution. Mix malathion at 12.5% of the recommended application strength (to simulate dilution by rain or irrigation water). Use 5-gallon buckets for testing various water plants. Each bucket should have at least 2 gallons of diluted malathion, and should be about 1/4 full with plants. One control bucket should contain no plants. At various time intervals (12 hours, 1 day, 2 days, 4 days) test the water for the presence of pesticides. For example, you can add water from the test bucket to a small container with an airstone and a tadpole or minnow. Time how long the tadpole or minnow survives after addition of the test water sample. Does the presence of plants in the test buckets increase survival time? Are some plants better than others at promoting survival? (Fox, 2005; Fox, 2006) As an alternative to animal testing, a mentor with expertise in analytical chemistry could assist you with developing a chemical test for malathion and its breakdown products.

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Do Plants Promote Pesticide Breakdown?" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 30 June 2014. Web. 1 Aug. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/EnvEng_p019.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 30). Do Plants Promote Pesticide Breakdown?. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/EnvEng_p019.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-30

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