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Some people believe magnets have therapeutic effects and can be used for pain-relief. Some also believe that magnets can affect seeds and plants.
Many studies have been performed on plants and some researches have suggested that plants have feelings, can think, and can recognize people. Many of such suggestions are controversial and are not widely accepted by scientific community.
The effect of magnet on seed germination and plant growth is one of the suggestions that can easily be studied by students as a science project.
Find the history of magnetism and its uses, especially any possible use of magnets in relation to plants and animals for therapeutic effects or biological effects.
Devise an experiment to test the effect of magnetism on seeds.
Variations of this project:
In this project we will expose seeds to strong magnets prior to planting; however, you may want to modify this project and plant the seeds in a strong magnetic field to see how it may affect the seed germination and plant growth. I have also seen claims that exposing water to magnet (magnetizing! water!) before irrigation affects plant growth.
Find out about magnets and their applications. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the therapeutic effect of magnets or the effect of magnetism on live organisms. Search the Internet for terms such as paramagnetic, biomagnetic, Magnet Therapy. Keep track of where you got your information from.
Following are samples of information you may find:
Magnet therapy is a type of “alternative” medicine which claims that magnetic fields have healing powers. Some claim that magnets can help broken bones heal faster, but most of the advocacy comes from those who claim that magnets relieve pain. Most of the support for these notions is in the form of testimonials and anecdotes, and can be attributed to “placebo effects and other effects accompanying their use” (Livingston 1998).
Magnetic Treatment of Seeds
The potential energy of self-preservation in seeds differs at different stages of development. During the harvest collection, seeds also contain different energy levels, and not all planted seeds will grow. That is the reason for an increase of the sowing norm, which is taken to the maximum amount of grown seeds for a hectare. Therefore, it results in the excess of costly seed material being used.
Our magnetic treatment of seeds before sowing allows spending 30-50% less on the seed as germination rates are increased substantially. Also, this treatment provides an earlier ripening of the harvest.
Seeds, which are treated using magnetic system, grow faster. The property of magneticism speeds can up protein formation, providing for the growth of roots and activating growth processes in weak seeds.
Application magnetism has shown a considerable decrease in the ripening time and an increase in the quality of vegetables, fruits and cereals, allowed for an increase of harvest by 12-36%, and in some cases up to 100% and more.
I have heard of many studies done on the magnetic fields and their effect on the living cells and until this day I have not heard of one which conclusively illustrates that magnetic fields affect plant growth. However, most of the studies which I am referring to have used magnetic fields which were of the similar magnitude to those found in the NATURAL environment. There are magnetic fields strong enough to do great damage not only to living cells, but to metal cars! There were also studies which argued that plant growth CAN be affected by the (larger than natural) magnetic fields and that certain magnitudes inhibit while others stimulate growth. There was one discovery which was made by David Reed (researcher at Michigan’s Technological University) that uncovered that the trunks of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and red maple (Acer rubrum) trees grew wider and the trunk of red pine grew taller near a 55-mile long naval communications antenna. Ironically, the growth of other species was not affected. So is the effect of magnetic fields related to the genes of a certain species of plants or was this finding just a coincidence which made it seem so?? Reed’s findings were interesting, but nevertheless not conclusive. There was also another study done (for which unfortunately I do not have a reference) on the seeds of Brassica rapa (mustard family) and it was reported that the seeds exposed to magnetic fields were all deformed, while the control was normal( EMF, in this case, being of great magnitude). It was also reported that there was no effect on the early development, while later the deformation of the plants became very obvious. It is possible that the magnetic fields affected the ions of such crucial organismal mechanisms as the hydrogen pump (which produces ATP) and possibly the conformation of some proteins (including very important enzymes). Remember that protein configuration is extremely important to their function and once changed, their role in the development of the plant is either altered or completely deleted. Considering all this it seems possible that continuous exposure to the magnetic field could also cause mutations (alterations in nucleotide sequence of DNA that codes for genes and proteins) and, in turn, evolution. But all of this is very ambiguous right now and needs much more research. To conclude, I will tell you that in my opinion, magnetic fields of “normal” (not exceedingly large) magnitudes, generally do no damage to the plants. It is very likely that high level of EMF’s (electromagnetic fields) might bring harm or even death to some plants. But this is not any different from the general rule which we see in nature: extremes are very bad for most living organisms. Even too much water will inevitably cause the plant to die. However, many factors have to be considered. The species of the plant, the magnitude of EMF, the combination of environmental factors and how long you allow for your experiment to go on can all affect the outcome. Remember that when you do your experiment. I do not think that a common magnet (especially in only two weeks) will generate enough force to have any effect on your seeds or any biological system, but it is just a hypothesis…it is possible that I am wrong! Well, I hope this is of at least some help to you! Good luck with your project!
The original notion that the direction of magnetic flux could measureably effect seed germination was developed by Albert Roy Davis, and Walter C Rawls Jr. in their classic book:”‘Magnetism and Its Effects on the Living System.,”. (Thanks to Cliff Pound for his help here on this). They tested a positive effect of the SOUTH pole.. of the magnet on water which then benefitted chicks, mice, and seed growth. Cliff and I agree that the South Pole end of the magnetic here should be one attracted to the NORTH POLE of the Earth- which agrees with the work of Don Lorimer ( Mr Magnets).
Germination: Germination is the process of emergence of growth from a resting stage like the sprouting of a seedling from a seed.
Germination rate: Germination rate is the number of seeds that sprout divided by the total number of seeds planted. For example of you plant 100 seeds and only 93 of them sprout, then the germination rate is 0.93 or 93%.
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.
The purpose of this project is to see if a strong magnetic field affect the seeds, their germination rate and growth rate.
Does magnetizing seeds before planting affect the growth?
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.
Independent variable (also known as manipulated variable) is the exposure time to a strong magnetic field.
Dependent variables (also known as responding variable) are the germination rate and the growth rate.
Constants are the type of seeds, amount of water, light, temperature and other germination and growth conditions.
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis.
This is a sample hypothesis:
Magnetizing seeds or exposing seeds to a strong magnetic field before planting has no affect on the rate of germination or plant growth. Claims related to the effect of magnetizing on increasing the germination rate and plant growth are false. My hypothesis is based on my gathered information and my common sense.
This is another sample hypothesis:
Magnetizing seeds or exposing seeds to a strong magnetic field before planting does affect the rate of germination or plant growth. Electrons that are present in all molecules of all substances are sensitive to magnetic forces. This is the principle of how a television works. Push or pull of electrons can potentially cause changes in the development of seeds. I believe more effects can be expected if the seeds germinate inside a magnetic field. My hypothesis is based on my gathered information and information provided by the makers of magnetic devices.
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a “control.” A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral “reference point” for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a “controlled experiment.”
Experiment 1: Does magnetizing seeds before planting affect the rate of germination and plant growth?
In this experiment you will expose different groups of seeds to strong magnetic field for different amounts of time. You will then grow each group separately away from any strong magnetic field and compare the rate of germination and plant growth.
Do not touch the seeds by hand. The oil and bacteria from hand may cause infection and affect the results. Handle seeds using forceps or a small spoon.
Super magnets are extremely dangerous. The attraction force between two magnets is high enough to pinch/ squeeze your skin and cause serous injury. They must be handled by adults
Effect of magnetizing on seed germination and growth:
|Magnetization time||Germination rate||Average root length||Average stem length|
Materials and Equipment:
The list of materials may be extracted from the experiment section.
Image in the right shows super strong (N35) disk magnets with outer diameter of 0.5 inch and thickness of 0.125 inch from MiniScience.com.
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental “runs.” During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered “raw data” since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.
You will need to calculate the average length of the roots and average length of the shoots in each group.
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.
It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.
If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.
List of References
To determine the effect magnetic fields have on the growth of plants.
Start with 30 Styrofoam cups and place five holes in the bottom of each cup for water drainage. Fill each cup with a mixture of potting soil and dirt. Soak each cup with water. Separate the cups into groups of ten making three separate groups. The control group of cups is magnet free. In Group A place (2) 60 grade A cow magnets on each side of cup far enough apart that they won’t stick to each other. In Group B place (4) 60 grade A cow magnets one on top of the other on each side of cup, again making sure they do not stick to each other. Separate each group so magnetic fields will not interfere with control group or interact with Group A and B. Place four radish seeds in each cup and water each plant with 250 ml of water each day. As plants grow log and chart daily the number of leaves, the length of stems and width of stems. At four weeks remove plants carefully so as to include roots and dry each group of plants and weighing daily until the weight stays the same.
Analysis of all data by use of graphs failed to conclusively prove that the hypothesis was correct. Some data, number of leaves and dried weight, showed a trend to larger plants in the B group. Other factors such as rate of growth and smaller weights as plants dried out did affect the results. Overall it seemed the experiment with EMF’s did not effect plant growth in a positive way. In general, the hypothesis was not proven.
Interpretation of the data show in general magnetic fields (EMF) did not affect the plant growth. Both stem height and leaf width was inconclusive. The number of leaves and dried weight showed stronger growth in the B group. Overall the experiment concluded that the magnetic fields did not affect plant growth as expected.