|The Effects of Microwave Radiation on Plants||January 1996|
was undertaken to determine the effects of microwave radiation on plant
life before maximum damage takes place. The reason for this experiment
is to determine if there are any serious effects on plants when they are
exposed to different intensities of microwave radiation.
Research of this nature is important in order to discover more resilient species of plants. As the ozone layer thins and more Ultraviolet radiation reaches the planet's surface, hardier species of crap plants will need to be found, possibly through genetic manipulation of existing species. When the effects of radiation on a species are known then scientists can go about altering that species to allow it to survive.
If plants can withstand small amounts of everyday radiation then slightly intensifying the doses should have little or no effect as well. As well, extended periods of low intensity microwaves should have no ill effects.
Materials / Methods
Results / Observations
The plants grew normally
for the first seven days. There were no notable abnormalities.
After being microwaved each plant displayed its own new set of characteristics.
The plants that were microwaved at lower frequencies showed limp leaves
as well as gave off a slight odour. Those microwaved at higher frequencies
showed more drastic changes such as wilting of leaves, heating of leaves,
and strong lingering "earthy" smell. The cups of those plants microwaved
at higher frequencies also heated up. The effects of this heating
did not appear until days later when the plants quit absorbing water from
the soil. The daily water was just absorbed into the soil until the
plants began to rot in a puddle of mud. When the plants were unearthed
this could be attributed to the virtual absence of root hairs on the plants.
These plants as well had no food storage nodules on the roots and it can
be said that these plants died only after exhausting their own food supplies.
Some ungerminated seeds discovered in the soil had some discoloration.
|Time in Microwave
|Plant 2||Plant 3||Plant 4||Plant 5||Plant 6||Plant 7|
|0:00||Roots fully formed with Root hairs and nodules. Healthy Green Colour.|
|1:00||No Root hairs for up to 1/2 cm before Root tip. Healthy green colour. Soil is damp. Few Nodules on roots.||Soil is damp with excess water. 1 full sized root hair. No root nodules.||Some dead grass at outer edge. Soil is wet. Very small root hairs, hardly visible. Light "earthy" smell.||Much excess water. No root hairs. Some leaves bleached white with no chlorophyll. Strong "earthy" smell.||Plant is Dead.
Mould growing amongst the leaves. Much excess water. No root hairs. Very strong smell.
|3:00||Appears to be healthy. Few Root Hairs. Soil is damp.|
The plants that were
microwaved at lower frequencies showed no such extremes. The plant
irradiated at level five showed little root hair loss but did experience
some dying off in the outer blades. Because of the root hair loss
it too showed higher moisture content in the soil. The plants microwaved
at levels one and three showed no detrimental effects of their experiences
and in fact began to grow better after being irradiated. They had no root
hair loss and no dying or browning of the leaves.
The seventh and last plant was microwaved at level one for three minutes to show that extended periods of low level radiation also had no ill effects on plants. It, too, experienced improved growth after being irradiated. It experienced no root hair loss or browning of leaves.
The largest and most
noticeable error in this experiment is that the plants were irradiated
in small cups and that this created an extra, added entry point for radiation.
It is true that being heated in their cups may have caused damage to the
more exposed roots than would be experienced in the outdoors, but no matter
how good of a shield the ground would be, the most extensively used crops
have shallow root systems not unlike the grass used in this experiment.
Another error may have occurred when the plants were unearthed for closer observations. It may have been that the high temperatures only caused the root hairs to become extremely fragile and the process of removing them from the soil damaged them further. This is probably not the case because the plants appeared to be dying as much as three days before being unearthed.
In this day and age of global and environmental awareness this project shows some startling consequences to the thinning of the ozone. If the radiation that reached Earth were to increase ever so slightly we may find ourselves inside an atmosphere not unlike the microwave on Power 5 or higher. WHile no immediate ill effects were shown (within one week) on the power five plants what would they ultimately be like after two weeks or two months? Maybe the short term burst of radiation harmed their genetic structure making them sterile or causing defects in their offspring. And long term radiation, longer than three minutes, would almost certainly have some sort of ill effect on the plants. It would be interesting to try this experiment and substitute the grass seeds for vegetable seeds or tree seeds. In the case of the vegetables would the radiation change their taste of coloration? Would the trees be stunted, destined to be warped, skinny versions of their former selves? What would be the effect of microwaves on unplanted, ungerminated seeds if they were irradiated and then planted to grow? Would the seeds grow to be stunted, smaller plants? Or would they germinate at all? These questions must be answered before it becomes too late and mankind is stuck on a dying planet with nothing to feed himself with.