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Investigation to find out whether plants need nitrate, phosphate and potassium.

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Biology coursework - Minerals Aim We are carrying out an investigation to find out whether plants need nitrate, phosphate and potassium. Key Factors Things to keep the same (to make a it a fair test) * Make sure the right amounts of minerals are added to the distilled water in each beaker otherwise it will not be a fair test. This will ensure the only outcome of the experiment can be based on the deficiencies of the minerals. * Make sure the seedlings are provided with the same amount of light. It would not be a fair test if three seedlings were left in the shade and another nine on the windowsill. Therefore if some seedlings are left in an area with less light it can come out as a limiting factor, affecting the outcome of the whole experiment. * The environment in which the seedlings are left in can affect the experiment, e.g. if the seedlings are left in separate rooms it could affect the outcome of the experiment because one room may be hotter than another. Therefore to ensure a fair test we must give all the seedlings equal opportunities by providing the same temperature. * The black paper has to be wrapped accurately around the boiling tube so light cannot pass through. ...read more.


Apparatus * Twelve boiling tubes * Black paper * Cotton wool * Tube * Seedlings * Distilled water * Minerals Diagram Method * Collect apparatus as shown in the diagram. * Add the minerals to the distilled water. So in three tubes add all minerals1 apart from nitrate. In the next three add all the minerals with the exception of potassium. In the final three tubes add all the minerals apart from phosphate. There will be a controlled experiment where the seedling will have a sufficient supply of all the required minerals2. * Put the seedlings inside the boiling tube and set as shown in the diagram-with the tube and cotton wool. * Place all twelve seedlings in the same room. * Blow air into the tube frequently so that the plant roots can respire. * Measure the roots, leaves and stems every week for six weeks. It would be advisable to mark one or two certain leaves and measure them every week for six weeks (like wise with the roots and stems). * Note anything you notice about the plant, e.g. whether the plant has stunted or whether the leaves have gone pale. Safety > Follow regular laboratory rules. Research Primary (Macro) ...read more.


Potassium increases photosynthesis, but without the aid of potassium the plant will not even photosynthesise at its normal rate because it lacks potassium. Potassium also activates enzymes and controls their reaction times. Enzymes are needed in various processes for plants, such as photosynthesis and respiration. In respiration the large molecules have to be broken down by enzymes and when they react, then the energy is released. The large molecules are broken down into smaller molecules by enzymes. However potassium activates enzymes, so without the aid of potassium the three plants cannot break down the larger molecules taken in from the roots. Therefore the three plants will find it difficult to carry out many processes. Without potassium plants are very prone to disease. The first sign of disease shows up in the plants because the leaves will have dead spots. Without potassium the immune system of the plant will be weak and there will be drastic changes, such as pale leaves. The plant in the controlled experiment will be healthy because it will be supplied with all the vital nutrients including the primary nutrients- nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N, P, K). 1 There are fourteen minerals with the exception of the primary nutrients (nitrate, phosphate and potassium). 2 The controlled experiment will have all fifteen minerals. This is the only experiment with all the minerals. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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