Are Soil Microorganisms Important for Plant Health? *
|Time Required||Very Long (1+ months)|
|Material Availability||Readily available|
|Cost||Very Low (under $20)|
|Safety||Adult supervision is required when using the oven. Use caution when handling and disposing of mold. Treat molds according to the same safety rules as outlined for bacteria in the Microorganisms Safety Guide.|
AbstractSoil may look like a bunch of dirt, but good quality soil is actually a complex mixture of dirt, nutrients, microorganisms, insects and worms. What type of benefit do these microorganisms offer a growing plant? You can test this by baking soil in the oven to sterilize and kill the microorganisms. Do plants grown in sterile soil do better than plants in unsterilized soil? What about adding worms to one plant, but not to the other. Will the plant with worms grow better? Some insects are bad for plants, and others are good for plants. Can you design an experiment to figure out which is which? What about mold and fungus? Try adding moldy bread to soil to see how this affects the growth and health of the plant. (VanCleave, 1993, 9-20; Vecchione, 2001, 168-169)
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Last edit date: 2017-07-28
- VanCleave, J. 1993. Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Biology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- Vecchione, G. 2001. 100 Award-Winning Science Fair Projects. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing.
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