Feeding the Soil
Alia Bhimani
Stratford Hall
Floor Location : J 099 R

Antioxidants are a type of bio-nutrient. Specifically, they are substances that prevent cell damage from oxidants. Oxidants are free radicals which can harm living cells by oxidizing them. Antioxidants can reduce the negative effect of free radicals by “neutralizing” them. This experiment was performed to see if juices that are known to be rich in antioxidants (pomegranate, blueberry, cranberry, cherry and apple juices, also called "super juices") can influence the rate of growth of plants and thus help improve crop yields. It was hypothesized that the blades of wheat grass “fed” with pomegranate juice would grow more quickly in terms of height then plants “fed” with the other super juices, and compared with water because the antioxidants would promote the production of more healthy cells. Wheat grass was selected for the experiment because it grows very quickly. To conduct the experiment, wheat grass seeds were germinated and planted in soil pots that were given water or various diluted super juices. The juices were diluted because if pure juices were used then they may have caused the soil to be too acidic and then the plants would not have been as effective in absorbing nutrients from the soil. After 14 days of growth, it was observed that the plants “fed” with pomegranate juice grew the most and therefore the results of the experiment supported the hypothesis. It was also observed that wheat grass plants fed with diluted blueberry juice did not grow as well as the plants “fed” with water, and that the plants “fed” with the other super juices grew better than plants “fed” with just water. The wheat grass plants “fed” with pomegranate juice likely resulted in the best growth because pomegranate juice is known to be the most-rich in antioxidants. The plants “fed” with blueberry juice may have had the least growth because the juice was so acidic that the acidity may have affected the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. This research may be useful to determine what kinds of fruit juices may help to improve plant and crop growth. If crop growth can be improved, then this in turn may help to improve the global food shortage situation. Also, this research may help to test which antioxidant-rich juices are the most beneficial to the human body, assuming there is a correlation between the growth and functioning of human cells and of plant cells.