Science Project:

Are Fungi Plants?

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Research Question:

  • How are fungi different from green plants?
  • What is the difference between sugar and starch?
  • What is a chemical indicator?
  • What happens when Benedict’s solution reacts with sugar?
  • What happens when iodine reacts with starch?

Materials:

  • Store-bought mushrooms
  • Iodine (available from drug store or scientific supply outlet)
  • Sugar
  • Measuring spoon or graduated cylinder
  • Benedict’s solution (available from scientific supply outlet)
  • Paring knife
  • Kitchen stove
  • Small saucepan for heating mushrooms
  • Green leaves
  • White sugar
  • Scissors

Procedure for Experiment #1

  1. Slice the mushroom lengthwise.
  2. Using an eyedropper place eight to ten drops of iodine on the interior surface of the mushroom.
  3. Write down your observation. Do you think there was more starch or sugar in the mushrooms?

Procedure for Experiment #2

  1. Put a half cup of water into a saucepan. Add one tbsp. of sugar and one tbsp of Benedict’s solution and stir.
  2. Heat to a low simmer.
  3. Carefully pour the hot water into a two-cup measuring cup. Did you observe any changes in color? Record your observations.

Procedure for Experiment #3

  1. Dice four or five small mushrooms into very small pieces.
  2. Put the mushrooms in a small saucepan. Add three-fourths cup water and 20 ml (approximately 1.5 tablespoons) Benedict’s solution to the saucepan
  3. Bring the mushrooms to a simmer. Continue simmering for five minutes.
  4. Turn off the stove. Decant the water into a clear glass measuring cup. Was there a color change? Write down your observations. What do you deduce from what you observed?

Procedure for Experiment #4

Repeat experiment #4, using eight to ten green leaves instead of mushrooms. The leaves should be collected first thing in the morning, and the experiment should be performed immediately thereafter. Using a scissor, cut the leaves in small pieces about a centimeter wide before covering them with water.

Terms/Concepts: sugar, starch; why green plants have sugar and fungi doesn’t; chemical indicator

References: "Benedict's Solution, a Reagent for Measuring Reducing Sugars: the Clinical Chemistry of Stanley R. Benedict," Journal of Biological Chemistry, April 19, 2002 Plant Physiology Online, Lincoln Taiz and Eduardo Zeiger

Author: Cy Ashley Webb
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