Do Plants Promote Pesticide Breakdown? *
AbstractWhen 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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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- Fox, J.E., 2005. "Using Plants to Remove Pesticides from Storm Water Run-off," California State Science Fair Abstract [accessed June 20, 2006] http://cssf.usc.edu/History/2005/Projects/J0803.pdf.
- Fox, J.E., 2006, "Using Plants to Remove Pesticides from Storm Water Run-off: A Continued Study," California State Science Fair Abstract [accessed June 20, 2006] http://cssf.usc.edu/History/2006/Projects/J0806.pdf.
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