This experiment is designed toobserve how common human trash can be used to increase the growth rates ofplants. Several natural materials found within certain households can be usedto help the environment by providing the soil with a boost of nutrients viadecomposition that plants absorb through their roots system, aiding in growth (“Decompositionand Decay,” n.d.
). The soil that plants grow in contains many types of singlecelled fungi and bacteria that aid in decomposition (Kowalski, 2016). Severalnatural fertilizers added into compost piles to help create a nutrient richsoil include: banana peels, coffee grounds, kelp, egg shells, and other fruitsand vegetables (“Everything You Need to Know About Organic Fertilizers,” 2017).However, each organic material provides the plants with different amounts andtypes of nutrients that can have an effect on the growth, strength, orappearance of the plant.
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For example, banana peels provide the soil with alarge amount of Potassium, Nitrogen, and Calcium; coffee grounds add mostly nitrogen;tomatoes provide potassium,magnesium, and phosphorus; and egg shells provide calcium, potassium, andphosphorus (Ahsan, 2014). Meanwhile, kelp providesthe soil with high amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (Grant,2016). Furthermore, many plants thrive in soils that are rich with nitrogen,phosphorus, and potassium as each element has their own effect on thedevelopment and health of the plant. Nitrogen helps the plant form greenleaves, phosphorus is used in the development of roots and flowers, andpotassium helps the plant become more resistant to diseases (Sundblad, n.d.).Typically, many of these natural fertilizers are used together, but thisexperiment will test how each fertilizer affects the plant by itself.
Considerations:While doing this lab, there areenvironmental and safety issues that need to be taken into consideration. Oneenvironmental issue that may result from the lab is the issue with wastingwater. This issue is mainly prevalent in California. Despite being consideredout of the drought, there are still water conservation laws in place tomaintain to prevent the state from entering another drought. This lab will useabout 18000 mL of water in total, excluding the water used to clean the shovelused to for placing soil in the cups. Another environmental issue is the amountof electricity wasted during the lab, as it required a lamp plugged in andturned for 28 days. The environment issue is due to a waste of electricity. Thislab uses a constant stream of electricity for 10 hours for a full 28 days,which is an extreme amount of electricity being used for this lab.
One safetyissue is a risk of being electrocuted during the lab, as the lamps used in thelab will need electricity. If any water were to accidentally splash onto or getinto the electrical socket, it could start a fire or electrocute someone. Anothersafety issue also has to do with the lamps.
The light bulb can become very hotto the point where it could cause minor burns if accidentally touched. A thirdpossible safety issue is cutting oneself with the knife used to cut up toorganic material into smaller, easier to decompose chunks. The safety issuearises from human error in which simply not paying attention or having fingerstoo close to the knife may result in cuts/injuries. There were no ethicalconsiderations as the test subjects were plants, which are organisms thatcannot endure physical or mental pain.
There was also no unauthorized geneticmodification of the lima beans during the experiment. PersonalEngagement: This experiment would show howhumans can help the process of decomposition by separating their trash byorganic and inorganic, as the soil can decompose the organic material faster,thus creating the nutrients the plants need to grow. This experiment wouldallow for an example of how specific types of compost affects different aspectsof a plant, and how farmers can use the results to determine the type ofnatural fertilizers they would like to use to stimulate the growth of their crops.This would also allow farmers with poor soiled land to rejuvenate their landand open it up to the possibility of resorting life to it once more (Ahsan,2014). This is also applicable to cities that heavily rely on farming as asource of income, in which knowing which type of compost with different amountsof specific organic material would be best for their specific crop will aid inmaximizing their crop production or time it takes for the crops to grow.