Does An Electric Field Affect Plant Growth?
Floor Location : J 071 V
Improving crop yield to solve world hunger is an important issue. One factor influencing crop yield that is commonly overlooked is the Earth's Electric field. This project investigates how the growth of radish seeds is affected by an electric field similar to that of an approaching thunderstorm. Four groups of ten radish plants are exposed to different values of electric fields. One group is exposed to Earth's electric field, (control group), a second group is shielded from all electric fields by completely surrounding the group with a grounded metal screen, a third group will be exposed to a 7500V/m electric field for 1 hour prior to watering, and the fourth group will be exposed to a 7500V/m electric field for 3 hours prior to watering. The growth interval data indicates that the shielded group had the longest growth interval and the electric field groups had the shortest growth interval suggesting that the electric field encourages nutrient and water absorption and shortening the growing interval. The germination rate data also showed that the shielded group had the lowest germination rate and the electric field groups had the highest germination rate. The shielded group had the lowest germination rate because the plants did not have an electric field to encourage water and nutrient absorption. The ground dampness also showed that the shielded group did not absorb as much water as compared to the electric field groups, which had the driest soil. The colour of the electric field group's stems and leaves also showed that they had a greater water and nutrient absorption because of their darker stems and leaves colour. The colour of the leaves and stems in the shielded group was the lightest, which suggested less water and nutrient absorption. Finally, the root length of the shielded group was the longest. This probably occurred because these plants compensated for the lack of water absorption by increasing its root length. The data suggests when a radish plant is exposed to an electric field for 1-3 hours before watering the growth rate of the radish plant is greater than the growth rate of the plants exposed to the Earth's electric field and the plants shielded from all electric fields.