The Effect of Irradiation on Vegetables (page 2)

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Author: Muriel Gerhard

Experimental Procedure

  1. State the problem you are going to investigate in this science fair project.
  2. Create and reproduce the data sheets you will use to record your observations.
  3. Order both the irradiated tomato seeds and the regular tomato seeds from Carolina Biological Supply.  Gather all your materials.
  4. Put on your safety glasses, plastic gloves and apron.
  5. Gather all the materials: 8 plastic cups, vermiculite, soil, irradiated tomato seeds, regular tomato seeds, paper towels, labels, a pencil, and water, a watering can a metric ruler and the data chart.
  6. Begin by making a mixture of soil and vermiculite, 50% of each.  Label each of the 8 plastic cups, 4 with irradiated seeds and 4 with regular seeds.
  7. Fill ¾ th of each of the 8 plastic cup with the mixture. Water the mixture. Do not soak!
  8. Using your pencil to make a dent, about 1/8th”deep, plant three seeds in each of the containers as noted on the label. Firm the soil around each one. You will have 4 containers each containing 2 irradiated seeds and 4 containers each having 2 regular seeds. You may wish to place a sample of each kind of seed in a small plastic bag, label each and use it for display purposes or include it in your final report. The rationale for using 8 “plants” is to safeguard your experiment in case some of your specimens die.
  9. Now place all of the 8 containers in direct sunlight. Water them gently on a daily basis. It should take between 7 to 10 days to germinate. You may wish to take photos of the plants as they emerge.   Observe them on a daily basis. At the end of each week summarize the data and record the results on your chart. Using a metric ruler, make measurements of increments in growth of all 8 containers. If there is no growth, please note that to be the case.
  10. At the end of three weeks, review all of your data, finalize your conclusion and prepare your report Include all of the following: a clear statement of the problem, your hypothesis, namely what did you predict would occur, and a list of the materials used. Include the safety precautions taken. Describe the procedures used. Include all the data that were gathered. Include all charts. Explain what constituted the control and what purpose it served. For dramatic value, you may include photos of the materials used or of you in the process of conducting this investigation. Focus on the differences you observed between the irradiated tomatoes and the non -irradiated tomatoes. Include a bibliography of sources you used. You may wish to assess what you did and describe what you would do differently if you were to do this project again. You may wish to expand this research next year. What other vegetables or foods might you investigate for this purpose?

Charting and or Graphing Data

In each section of the experiment, use charts to display the obtained data such the following sample:

Chart of Growth Observations

RS=radiated seeds NRS= non-radiated seeds Specimens







































  1. Grahame W. Gould, New Methods of Food Preservation   
  2. Albert Towle, Modern Biology, Holt, Rhinehart & Winston
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