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The effect of phosphate on cell division in root tips

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Introduction

The effect of phosphate on cell division in root tips In this investigation, my aim is to determine what the effect of phosphate ions are on plants that may be grown in a water culture, such as garlic cloves or broad bean seedlings. This can be determined by a root tip squash, examining the root tips under a microscope to see what percentage of cells have begun to undergo mitosis. A water culture is the growing of terrestrial plants with roots in an aerated solution*, where the concentration of difference ions can be altered to discover which are used for normal, healthy plant growth. In this case, I am able to change the concentration of phosphate ions to culture a batch of plants which can each be individually examined under a microscope. Mitosis is the nuclear division to produce two daughter nuclei containing identical sets of chromosomes, and with relevance to this experiment, takes place when an organism grows. ...read more.

Middle

They are composed of long string of nucleotides, which can be hydrolysed to give a nitrogenous base, a pentose sugar and phosphoric acid. If a plant were to be cultured in a solution without sufficient phosphate ions, DNA replication and protein synthesis could not occur because there would be enough free nucleotides. This would negatively affect the mitotic cycle. With this understanding of the role of phosphate ions in a plant, I predict that any seedling cultured in a solution that has a low concentration of phosphate ions will show very little or no mitotic activity when examined under a microscope. When the concentration is higher, there will be more available nucleotides to allow for DNA replication and protein synthesis to occur, and there will be sufficient ATP to provide the energy required. Plants also require more than just phosphates in the solution, needing the nutrients nitrates and sulphates, calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium ions. ...read more.

Conclusion

2 - Culture in a warm, bright environment for 4-5 days and then cut of the apical meristem 5mm from the tip of a growing lateral root. 3 - Submerse in watch glass, containing 10 parts stain to 1 one part acid, and warm over beaker filled with hot water for 5 minutes. 4 - Cut tip in half transversely, place on slide and add 2 drops of stain. 5 - Using a needle, break the root tip to spread it thinly as possible. Cover with coverslip, and examine under microscope for stages of mitosis. 6 - Repeat steps 1-5 twice more for concentration 100%. 7 - Repeat steps 1-6 for each concentration. By having three root tips from each concentration, I am more likely to overcome any anomalous results and prevent errors, by averaging the Mitotic index***, which is the number of cells undergoing mitosis divided by the number of cells visible. The average can be recorded in the table shown below, and I can then fully determine what the effect phosphate ions have on cell division in root tips. ...read more.

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