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The Effect of Microwave Exposure and Water pH on Phaseolus lunatus

Taif Rahman and Thomas Szczesniak

Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center

Biology 1 9C

Mr. Estapa, Mrs.Gravel, Mr. Acre

26 May 2015
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Problem Statement 5

Experimental Design 6

Data and Observations 9

Data Analysis and Interpretation 13

Conclusion 20

Works Cited 23
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Introduction

Human technological advancements have shown to increase exponentially; from one new

invention or modification to techniques branches vast amounts of future possibilities. An

example of this phenomenon would be the invention of the wheel enabling future technological

advancements such as the horse-and-buggy, eventually leading to automobiles. This has been

especially so since the Industrial Revolution: the introduction of modern industry to the world.

As factories permeated global societies, the Earth itself bore the brunt of the negative

consequences. Acid rain is the most prevalent negative effect of industry, especially due to the

burning of fossil fuels and vehicular emission of smog. Acid rain is as sounds: precipitation in

the form of liquid that is exceedingly acidic, or has a pH level below 7.0 (What Causes Acid

Rain?). Upon further investigation of the effect the Industrial Revolution had on the biosphere

there arose another potential harm.

The potential harm is another byproduct of the Industrial Revolution: human

manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum, in particular; waves. Waves, in this instance of

physics, refers to a transfer of energy by oscillation through a medium (Crockett).

Technologically, waves tend to be used as a basis of telecommunication. Microwaves in

particular are often used in instances of technology such as motion detectors, radars, and wireless

connection/wifi. Microwaves tend to traverse through the air, which is known as radiation

(Lucas).

The general perception of acid rain, as it pertains to water pH, is that it begets negative

consequences for plant life, but how so? All radiation yields effects to the surrounding

environment, but what does it mean for the biosphere and specifically: plant life? It was decided
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an experiment was necessary to answer such questions of water pH and the effect of microwave

radiation on living things and if an effect existed between the two factors and what the optimal

amount of each factor is, as pertains to life. Said experiment was designed as a two-factor

design of experiment, dubbed DOE which involved water with pH levels of 5.6, 7.6, and 9.6

and durations of exposure to microwaves for 1, 2, and 3 seconds for various groups of Phaseolus

lunatus (lima bean) seeds in order to find which two factors yielded the highest germination rate.

In total there were 75 seeds to be manipulated, in which there were five groups of fifteen seeds

each consisting of differing microwave exposure times and pH of water (used to water seeds),

except for the standard values which were 2 seconds and 7.6 pH; the standards were only tested

with each other.

The experiment was performed by altering the pH of two 500 mL containers of water by

using sodium bicarbonate to raise the pH and citric acid to lower the pH. Multiple packets of

seeds were used and seeds were pooled together and chosen at random as to avoid bias. The

water of altered pH was used to water seeds as needed and a microwave oven was used to expose

the seeds to microwave radiation. The seeds were sandwiched between two paper towels and

then sealed inside a Ziploc bag to avoid evaporation. The seeds were removed from Ziploc bags

and microwaved daily, and in the presence of dry seeds, they were watered. After one week of

careful observations, it was recorded how many seeds per subgroup of 5 in each group of 15 had

germinated.
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Figure 1. Depiction of Molecular Friction of Water in Response to Microwaves

The first respective factor was the duration of exposure to microwave radiation.

Microwaves themselves transmit, or carry, thermal energy (Lucas). In relation to the experiment,

microwave ovens agitate water molecules on food, or in the instance of this experiment: seeds, at

set frequencies and due to increasing agitation the water molecules begin to vibrate at the atomic

level, generating heat due to water molecules being reoriented from microwave irradiation,

causing friction between the tightly-packed molecules, as can be seen in Figure 1 (Wolpert). The

heat from the friction of the vibrations essentially manipulate the temperature within the seeds

vicinity, causing variations for the seeds maturation. In the presence of temperatures too intense

for a specific seed, the seed may have trouble germinating or even die due to the heat possibly

evaporating water (What is Germination?). In relation to the seeds in this experiment the effect is

more powerful, as the seeds are soaked thoroughly in water which will not only vibrate at a

molecular level, but the water itself will also heat due to similar friction (Wolpert).
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The second factor that will alter the response variable in the experiment was the pH of the

water used to nourish the seeds. Levels of pH of water, as pertains to plants, affects the soil the

seed is planted in than the actual seed itself. Water pH is found to affect seeds at elemental levels

and alters (possible) nutrient intake (Lovejoy). To be specific, when pH of soil and water is in the

optimal range (for the specific plant/seed), minerals tend to be more soluble through the

phospholipid bilayer. This is due to differing pH levels being able to break down and dissolve

molecules which have too great of sizes to enter the cell, allowing more nutrient intake.

The response variable itself, or the manipulated result yielded from the effect of the

factors, is germination rate. Germination rate tends to be measured per centum, or one per every

hundred. Germination is the process of a seed sprouting into and growing (as a) plant. The

essential bases for a seed to germinate are the presences of oxygen and adequate temperatures

and the availability of water (What is Germination?).


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Problem Statement

Problem:

What is the effect of differing durations of exposure to microwaves and differing pH of

water on the germination rate of a group of seeds?

Hypothesis:

If a group of Phaseolus lunatus plants are exposed to microwaves for 1 second and are

watered with water that has a pH of 9.6, then it will have the greatest germination rate.

Data Measured:

The first independent variable, as this experiment will be set up as a two-factor DOE, is

the amount of time the seeds are exposed to microwaves. Inside of a microwave, 75 seeds will be

categorized into groups accordingly: two group of 15 will be exposed to microwaves for a total

of 1 second, one group of 15 will be exposed to microwaves for 2 seconds, and two more group

of 15 will be exposed to microwaves for 3 seconds. Each group will be microwaved daily. The

exposure time and the difference between each groups allotted amount was determined to be 1,

2, and 3 seconds because the microwaves radiated inside of a microwave oven are very great and

as hypothesized, even such short exposure times should affect the seeds greatly. The second

independent variable is the pH level of the water that is used to water the seeds. This variable

will be measured in pH units on the pH scale. The low for this variable is 5.6, the standard is 7.6,

and the high is 9.6. The difference between each amount that caused it to be judged as low,

standard, or high is that lower pH levels are more acidic, which increasingly becomes harmful to

the plant as the pH gets lower. Following this basis, it can be hypothesized the higher the pH

level, the less harmful and more effective the watering of the plant is. The waters pH will be

altered using sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.


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Experimental Design

Materials:
(75) Phaseolus lunatus seeds (3) 3.78 L Milk jugs
(14) 28x15 cm Paper towel sheet (1) 800 W Microwave oven
(5) 27x29 cm Ziploc bags (2) 500 mL beakers
(1) Scoopula (1) Plastic teaspoon
(1) Sharpie marker (1) 150 mL Cup
(1) Plate (1) 1 mL Pipette
Nitri-Chem gloves Sartorius Analytic Scale
1 g of Citric acid 1500 mL Water
5 g Sodium bicarbonate AquaChek Pool & Spa test strips

Procedure:

Preparing the Solutions

1. Use the Sartorius Analytic Scale to measure approximately 1 g of citric acid and 5 g of
Sodium bicarbonate.

2. Fill two 500 mL (minimum) beakers with water 500 mL water.

3. Add citric acid using the scoopula to one beaker less than half of a gram at a time and
stir with a spoon. Use pH test strips to judge pH until the waters pH is lowered to 5.6.

4. Add sodium bicarbonate using the scoopula to the other beaker with less than a quarter of
a gram at a time and stir with a spoon. Use pH test strips to judge pH until the waters
pH is increased to 9.6.

5. Pour 5.6 pH water into one milk jug and pour 9.6 pH water into another milk jug. Fill
a third milk jug with 7.6 pH water procured from a sink (tampering with pH level using
citric acid to lower pH or sodium bicarbonate to raise pH may be necessary if the water
isnt 7.6 exact). Label the 5.6, 7.6, and 9.6 pH level milk jugs as -, s, and +, respectively
with a Sharpie marker.

Treating the Seeds

6. Take a random selection of (15) Phaseolus Lunatus seeds for each factor pair to avoid
experimental bias.

7. Place the P. lunatus seeds on a plate in a 3x5 plot on a plate.

8. Place the plate of 15 seeds in the microwave. Power the microwave for one second,
remove the group of seeds from the microwave and place the seeds in a 3x5 plot on a
paper towel, and place another paper towel sheet on top of the seeds.
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9. Use the pipette to measure 15 mL of water from the milk jug that has a pH level of 5.6,
and squeeze water into a cup. Water the seeds sandwiched between the paper towel with
the cup and distribute water evenly throughout paper towel. Place the paper towel into a
Ziploc bag, and label the Ziploc bag as (-,-) with a Sharpie marker.

10. Repeat steps 6-8 with the remaining groups accordingly: one group for one second and
water with 15 mL of water with 5.6 pH level water; three groups for two seconds each
and water with 15 mL of water with 7.6 pH level water for each group; two groups for
three seconds each and water with 15 mL of with 9.6 pH level water for each group.

11. Microwave each group of seeds for their respective times daily for one week by carefully
moving P. lunatus seeds on to the plate and putting the plate into the microwave. Place P.
lunatus seeds back in a 3x5 plot on the paper towel and place paper towel in Ziploc bag.

12. If seeds are dry, repeat step 9.

13. Record observations for one week and after one week, record how many seeds
germinated in each group.

Diagram:

Figure 2. Microwaving Seeds

Figure 2 shows how the varying groups of seeds were microwaved. Here a group of 15

seeds were placed on a plate in the microwave oven, set at three seconds, which was the (+)

factor for microwave time.


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Figure 3. Seed Setup

Figure 3, above, is a visual representation of the seeds in their Ziploc bags,

respective to their groups (amount of time exposed to microwaves and pH of water levels). The

top leftmost group is the (s,s)1 group and progressing right (in order) are the rest of the standard

groups, which are (s,s)2 and (s,s)3. The bottom leftmost group is the (-,-) group and going right

(in order) are the (-,+), (+,-), and (+,+) groups.


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Data and Observations


Data:

Table 1
Design of Experiment Variable Values
Time in Microwave (seconds) Water pH (pH unit)
- Standard + - Standard +
1 2 3 5.6 7.6 9.6

Table 1, above, is a tabular representation of the -, s, and + of both variables, the time the

seeds are in a microwave oven and the pH of the water used to water the seeds. The values for

the time in a microwave oven, the first factor, were determined by concluding from research that

even small exposure to microwaves can affect seeds in multiple ways, so small exposure duration

were used. The values for the pH level of the water used to nourish the seeds were determined by

using the common pH scale with having 7.6 as the standard for water and since there would be

only one trial, due to research the conclusion was reached that in the presence of soil, which was

not present throughout the experiment, pH takes on an effect such as that higher acidic levels are

more harmful than higher alkaline levels. The conclusion to research was reached regarding soil

due to lack of information pertaining pH levels to actual seeds at any level other than elemental.

Table 2
Daily Germination of Seeds in All Three Runs
Seeds Germinated
Run Day Date (-,-) (-,+) (s,s)1 (s,s)2 (s,s)3 (+,-) (+,+)
0 3/30/2015 Planted
1 3/31/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4/1/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 4/2/2015 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
1
4 4/3/2015 1 0 1 2 2 2 0
5 4/4/2015 4 0 7 2 4 2 0
6 4/5/2015 5 0 4 2 5 4 0
7 4/6/2015 5 0 5 2 5 5 0
Table 2
Daily Germination of Seeds in All Three Runs
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Run Day Date (-,-) (-,+) (s,s)1 (s,s)2 (s,s)3 (+,-) (+,+)
0 3/30/2015 Planted
1 3/31/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4/1/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 4/2/2015 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2
4 4/3/2015 0 0 1 3 2 2 0
5 4/4/2015 1 0 7 3 3 2 0
6 4/5/2015 2 0 3 3 5 2 0
7 4/6/2015 5 0 5 3 5 2 0
0 3/30/2015 Planted
1 3/31/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4/1/2015 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 4/2/2015 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
3
4 4/3/2015 0 0 2 2 1 1 0
5 4/4/2015 2 0 3 3 3 3 0
6 4/5/2015 3 0 4 4 5 3 0
7 4/6/2015 4 0 5 4 5 3 0

Table 2, above, is a tabular representation of the course of the germination of the 5 P.

lunatus seeds in each of the three runs. Viewing the germination over each day can help lead to a

more thorough conclusion. It should be noted that each trial was run at the same time on the

same paper towel.

Table 3
Germination Rate
Germination Rate (%)
DOE (Time in Microwave, Water pH)
(-,-) (-,+) (s,s)1 (s,s)2 (s,s)3 (+,-) (+,+)
1 100.0 0 100 40 100 40.0 0
2 100.0 0 100 60 100 60.0 0
3 80.0 0 100 80 100 100.0 0
Average 93.3 0 100 60 100 66.7 0

Table 3, above, is a tabular representation of the germination rate percent of each of the

three P. lunatus groups.

Observations:

Table 4
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Observations during Experiment
Date Observations
Seeds had various sizes and prior conditions could affect germination rate, one
3/30/2015
group of standards had some of the biggest seeds.
Seeds were wrinkled and very damp because too much water was applied,
lowered quantity of water used, replaced paper towel so they do not rot/mold,
3/31/2015
smell of lima beans came from a few groups, most strong in (s,s)2, water
quantity was changed to 15 mL of water per group.

Several seeds had their seed coat shed in (s,s)2 and same strong smell came
from (s,s)2, appeared wrinkled again, paper towels were sufficiently damp so
4/1/2015
no water was applied, using a plate to place the seeds on for daily microwaving
because paper towels are too damp to place in microwave oven.

Seeds and paper towel were more dry than the previous day and many were
smooth, seeds were sticky especially in (s,s)2 especially the ones that shed their
4/2/2015
seed coat, and seeds in that group had the strongest smell of lima beans, some
seeds already germinated.

Sufficiently damp seeds so no need for watering, several seeds from multiple
4/3/2015 groups shed seed coats and those are particularly sticky and slimy, seeds in all
groups had a smell of lima beans, many more seeds germinated.

Strong scent of lima beans, still somewhat moist from two days ago but still
4/4/2015 watered anyways with only 10 mL of water, several seeds from various groups
germinated.
No watering needed, paper towel were very moist, (-,+) and (+,+) germinated
no seeds, both groups had very wet, slippery seeds with smooth surfaces, smell
4/5/2015
of wet lima beans was very strong, accidentally overwatered a couple seeds in
(s,s)2.

No watering or microwaving today, as this is the last day, many seeds in (s,s)2
4/6/2015 were too soft and start coming apart, 2 seeds in (+,-) totally came apart, seeds
in (s,s)2 may have suffered losses from overwatering.

Diagram:
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Figure 4. Results

Figure 4, above, shows the results of the germinated seeds in the experiment. The upper

leftmost group is the (s,s) group and continuing to the right are the rest of the standards, which

are (in order) (s,s)2 and (s,s)3. The bottom leftmost group is the (-.-) group and going right (in

order) are the (-,+), (+,-), and (+,+) groups.

It was noticed that the (-,+) and the (+,+) groups germinated no seeds. It can be inferred
using this data that the pH of the water had a significant effect on the germination rate of the
seeds. It was also observed that the (s,s) and the (s,s)3 groups had 100% germination rates but
(s,s)2, had a lower germination rate.
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Data Analysis and Interpretation

Table 5
Predictor Variables used Experiment
Variables
Time in Microwave (seconds) Water pH (pH unit)
- Standard + - Standard +
1 2 3 5.6 7.6 9.6

Table 5, above, is a tabular representation of the two predictor variables used in the

experiment and their values which were the duration of exposure to microwaves in seconds and

pH of the water. The response variable of the experiment was the germination rate of the groups

of seeds, measured in a percent form, and the hypothesis was that a group of Phaseolus lunatus

seeds would have the greatest germination rate if exposed to microwave radiation for one second

and watered with water that has a pH of 9.6

Table 6
Average Germination Rate
Germination Rate (%)
DOE (Time in Microwave, Water pH)
(-,-) (-,+) (+,-) (+,+)
1 100.0 0 40.0 0
2 100.0 0 60.0 0
3 80.0 0 100.0 0
Average 93.3 0 66.7 0

Table 6, above, is a tabular representation of the result (germination rate) of each group of
differing combinations of the two factors. The grand average was found to be 40%, meaning
40% of the total seeds germinated in the experiment.
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Table 7
Effect of Microwave Time
Effect of Microwave Time (%)
- +
1 second 3 seconds
93.3 66.7
0.0 0.0
Avg =46.65 Avg =33.35

Figure 5. Effect of Microwave Time

Table 7 and Figure 5, above, show the effect the exposure to microwaves factor had on

the seeds germination. The effect value was found to be -13.3%. The exposure to microwaves

inside of a microwave oven had affected the results by a margin, though not as much as the effect

of water pH. Since the effect value was -13.3%, therefore, it can be concluded too much

exposure to microwaves can affect seed germination negatively.

Table 8
Effect of Water pH
Effect of Water pH (%)
- +
5.6 pH 9.6 pH
93.3 0
66.7 0
Avg =80.0 Avg =0
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Figure 6. Effect of Water pH

Table 8 and Figure 6, above, show the effect that the pH of the water used to water the

seeds had on the experiment. The effect value was found to be -80%, or an 80% decrease in

germination rate when going from a 5.6 pH to a 9.6 pH. This factor played the largest role in the

experiment, as the positive value (9.6 pH of water) had nulled the germination rate. The pH level

was too high and stopped the seeds from germinating within 7 days.

Table 9
Interaction Effect
Water pH
(-) (+)
5.6 9.6
Solid (+)
Microwave 66.7 0.0
Segment 1
Time
(seconds) Dotted (-)
93.3 0.0
Segment 3

Figure 7. Interaction Effect of Water pH

Table 9 and Figure 7, above, show the interaction effect of the two factors. Viewing the

slopes of the two segments in Figure 7, labeled in Table 9, it is apparent there is an interaction
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between the pH of the water and the microwave time on the germination rate, as the slopes are

not parallel and they intersect. The interaction effect value was found to be 13.3%.

Effect Interpretations:

Indisputable trends of data were present in both the effect values and the interaction

effect value. Prior to observing one specific factors effect, it is blatantly apparent that one of the

factors throws off the data, specifically when the pH of the water is held high at a level of 9.6.

Scientifically, this means the water used to water the seeds was more basic, and the seeds did not

germinate within the allotted seven days. Beyond that, observing the first factor and its effect

value it is apparent the amount of time in the microwave had affected the germination rate. In

Figure 5 and Table 7, it is apparent that the longer in the microwave the lesser the germination

rate, meaning the first factor had a negative effect value (-13.3% to be precise). In Figure 6 and

Table 8, as mentioned prior, the more basic the water used to water the seeds, the less

germination rate is yielded. There is indeed an interaction effect, which happens to be 13.3%.

Table 10
Data of Standards
Standards (Germination Rate in %)
(s,s)1 (s,s)3
100 100 100 100 100 100

Table 10 is a representation of the standards used in the experiment. The range of

standards was 0%, since all the standard groups had a 100% germination rate. The (s,s)2 was not

used due to being affected by overwatering, which altered the result and resulted in inaccurate

data.
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Figure 8. Scatter Plot of Standards

Figure 8, above, is a scatter plot of the range of standards, or the germination rate of each

standard group. The standards, as they all germinated, were a perfect basis of comparison. The

germination of every seed also shows that microwave exposure of two seconds, as two seconds

was the standard for the first factor, did not have a negative impact on the germination rate.

Figure 9. Dot Plot of Effects

From Figure 9, above, it can be seen that the effect for both variables and the interaction

effect fall within the range of twice the standards. It should be noted that double the range of

standards was 0%, as the original range of standards was also 0%. The fences overlap at 0% and

all the effects and the interaction effect fell outside of the range of double the standards, so
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everything was deemed significant in the experiment, which include the effect of the water pH,

the microwave time, and the interaction effect

Figure 10. Parsimonious Prediction Equation

The grand average in the parsimonious prediction equation in Figure 10, above, was 40%,

therefore 40 was used. It should be noted that the values used in the parsimonious prediction

equation are per centum, or for every hundred. For example, 40 = 40% or .4. Since both effects

and the interaction effect were deemed significant in the statistical test of significance, each

effect was divided by two and multiplied by their respective variables, and the interaction effect

was divided by two and multiplied by both variables. The variables in the equation are stand-ins

for values which will be plugged in for those variables to determine the expected outcome if the

quantities for the variables in the original experiment were to be altered. At the end of the

equation is noise which is added to the equation in the case that human error alters the results.

Figure 11. Calculation of Interpolation

During the case of the interpolation, 0.5 would be a microwave exposure time of 1.5

seconds and 0.5 for pH would be 8.6. If the experiment were to be re-ran using the given

interpolated values for each factor, 0.5 for the microwave exposure time and 0.5 for the water pH

level, the germination rate would be 15.0125%, which is roughly 15%. The trends noticed

earlier, that increasing microwave exposure time and increasing water pH both have negative

effects on the germination rate, were present here, and should continue to be present in the case
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of both factors being interpolated with higher values. However, with values interpolated in the

experiment itself and not the equation, new trends may be found, as water pH too low may also

negatively affect plants and with miniscule microwave times, there may be no effect on

germination rate at all.

Overall Interpretation:

Viewing each factor more critically it is apparent that both factors did have effects on the

end result, the germination rate of the Phaseolus lunatus seeds. As mentioned prior in the first

interpretation, it is apparent that the first factor, the amount of time the seed groups are exposed

to microwaves, does indeed have an effect on the germination rate. The specific effect that

microwaves has on germination of seeds cannot be concluded from the limited experiment, but it

is apparent that too much exposure is bad for the seed, as evident when microwave exposure

time was held at a high, the germination rate was lower for the groups.

Viewing the second factor, the pH level of the water used to water the seeds, allows a

more apparent view of significance. When the factor was held at its high value, water with a pH

level of 9.6 being used, the germination rate within seven days was 0%, despite the differing

values of the first factor, amount of exposure to microwaves. The values of pH of the water (5.6,

7.6, and 9.6 respectively) were chosen and separated by a 2.0 pH level to show drastic effects on

the seeds, though it is obvious the effect was too drastic.

The interaction effect, or the alteration of one of the independent factors results based on

the other (or another) independent factor, in this experiment is 13.3%. To paraphrase more

simply, the effect that each factor, the microwave exposure time and pH level of water, had on

the others average germination rate at each value (- and +) was 13.3%. It was apparent that
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water pH played a much larger and significant role than the microwave time or the interaction

effect, both practically and statistically, between the two factors, as there was an 80% decrease in

germination from a 5.6 pH to a 9.6 pH, as opposed to a mere 13.3% decrease from one second of

exposure to microwaves to three seconds of exposure to microwaves. Despite zeroes being

yielded for an entire factors results, the experiment can be deemed a success, as much was

learned.
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Conclusion

The original hypothesis that a group of Phaseolus lunatus seeds would have the greatest

germination rate if exposed to microwave radiation for one second and nourished with water of

pH 9.6 did not stand and was rejected. The estimated optimal duration of exposure to microwave

radiation, one second, did stand, however the estimated optimal pH level of the water being 9.6

did not stand. This was so because prior knowledge of pH and its effect on seeds had only

applied to the pH of soil, and had been inferred the effect would be similar without the presence

of soil, only water with differing pH levels.

The idea of the experiment and research itself was reached upon investigation, and later;

confrontation, of issues in the botanical portion of the biosphere. Microwave radiation and

differing pH levels of rainwater are known to affect flora, so it was investigated how specifically

so. The experiment was conducted in a manner that allowed very apparent results to be yielded.

The results themselves were that both too acidic and too alkaline water negatively affected the

germination of seeds, as did long durations of exposure to microwaves.

When the DNA of the seeds were irradiated by microwaves, it was denatured so the

effects of the irradiation build over time (Schaefer, Stroop). Breakage of DNA covalent bonds,

which would hinder DNA synthesis due to foreign nucleotide sequencing and essentially

germination, had occurred in the presence of oxygen atoms on the DNA phosphate-sugar

backbone, though in the earliest moments in relation to the entirety of the exposure/irradiation

and power of the irradiation no effect was yielded, as observed when comparing the results in

this experiment to the DNA and Microwave Effect experiment performed by electrical engineers

at Pennsylvania State University, which observed the effects of microwaves on covalent bonds

(Beavers). When comparing this experiment to Investigating the Effect of Soil pH on the
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Germination of Avicennia alba seedlings, similar conclusions were drawn relating to the effect of

pH on germination: too high and too low pH hindered germination rate of flora. Though the pH

was differing in soil, effects still occurred at elemental concentration level and intake of certain

nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium intake deficiency (Kai, Peng, Min, Ken).

The design of the experiment had suffered flaws that negatively affected the outcome of

the research. The method of measuring water pH was crude, as test strips compare colors to a

chart and color to the naked eye relies on inference, resulting in an overwhelming possibility of

non-exact values for pH levels. When pH was held high at 9.6, the level was too alkaline for the

seeds and had not allowed them to germinate within the allotted seven day period, disallowing

more specific conclusions to be drawn. Multiple issues with microwave radiation were present as

well. The seeds in their respective bags were stored in a room in an everyday house that had

radio waves traversing the air, which may have thrown off results, although each bag would have

been exposed to the same amount. Also in a microwave oven, the microwave radiation does not

immediately reach its peak of power; the strength of the radiation builds with time, causing

inevitable, though miniscule, alteration of data unrelated to microwave exposure time itself.

There were multiple instances of procedural flaws as well. The watering process did not

allow for the water to be spread evenly amongst each individual seeds due to soaking of water

into paper towel. The plates on which the groups of seeds were placed upon in the microwave

oven were also left in the microwave oven for seconds at most, resulting in exposure to lingering

microwaves.

While conclusions were reached thus far from the experiment, as pertains to the effect the

two factors had on the response variable, further understanding of the reasoning behind the

conclusions would require more specific experiments that differed based on the results of each
Rahman-Szczesniak 25
other. The most prevalent portion of the experiment that would require manipulation and

tampering with would be the levels of pH water used. It was apparent the levels used were too

drastic, as viewable when observing the effect of 9.6 pH on the germination rate. Different

strengths of microwave radiation could also be used and compared to the effect of exposure

established in the experiment to be able to reach more specific conclusions.

On a large scale, with due further and more practical research, the conclusions reached

could benefit society. The experiment was, at its core, an endeavor to draw botanical

conclusions. In an agricultural scenario, understanding the effect that microwaves and pH of

water have on crops can be very beneficial. Knowing too much exposure to microwave radiation

is harmful to plants, farmers could limit said radiation around the plot of agriculture, as to not

harm the crops or affect it negatively at any level. Understanding that pH levels too acidic or

alkaline are harmful to flora would aid farmers in the sense of knowing to avoid highly

industrialized areas (due to acid rain) and when manually watering flora, if ever, to know what

pH level is optimal for the floras health.

Over the course of conducting the research, there were both insights and revelations as
pertain to the process of conducting the research and what was researched. It was learned what
effects pH levels and microwave exposure have on (the botanical portion of) the biosphere. It is
obvious that radiation of any form and examples of differing water pH, such as acidic rain, yield
effects on flora, though the researchers did not know how so specifically. The researchers also
learned how to better conduct research experiments, specifically to have patience with
procedures and to think about possible issues prior.
Rahman-Szczesniak 26

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