Discipline: Biological Sciences
Room: Marriott Balcony A
Azalia Andrews - Harris-Stowe State University
Co-Author(s): Julianne Yang,University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL; Anna Scharnagl, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia,MO; Dr. William Folk, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia,MO
Epipremnum aureum, often referred to as Pothos, is a common house plant that is native to tropical biomes across the world. Based upon this, the hypothesis of the education project asserted that basic experiments regarding photosynthetic activity could be performed via the usage of Pothos and 50-watt incandescent desk lamps of assorted colors. This goal is important because it was achieved by framing such a complex biological phenomena in an easily understood and age-appropriate manner while maintaining an affordable and accessible material design. Additionally, the methodology of the experiment focused upon how abstract physical properties such as light wavelength and surrounding water temperature affected the quality and occurrence of photosynthetic activity. This was tested by altering the aforementioned variables and observing the change in results of photosynthetic activity in the Pothos plant. First, the Pothos plant was cut into disks that were put into a beaker filled with .1% sodium bicarbonate, an eyedropper’s drop of dish soap, and 4 tablespoons of water. After this, the leaves had 50 watt desk lamps of white, blue, red, and green light placed over them while inside the beakers. Each beaker was placed under a specific light and timed for up to 14 minutes in order to decide if the different colors produced different rates of photosynthesis. Once this was complete, two separate beakers filled with the .1% sodium bicarbonate solution were placed under a white light 50 watt desk lamp and into a heat bath that heated the water of the first beaker to 23C and the second beaker to 27C. After the end of the 14 minutes, the beakers were observed to see how many of the disks rose from the bottom to the meniscus of the beaker, demonstrating how active the photosynthesis enzymes were in response to the temperature of the water. The control for each experiment was designated to the leaves being tested under a black box that disallowed the light-reaction of photosynthesis to occur. Overall, the results coincided with the theoretical effects of green plants and their photosynthetic reactions to light, as well as heat. To conclude, the experiment demonstrated high efficacy in the design of affordable photosynthetic education for intermediate school children. For future application, the team anticipates the experimental design’s proliferation in the local school districts of Columbia, Missouri. [Azalia Andrews was supported by the 2018 University of Missouri-Columbia Summer Research Internship Program’s Department of Biochemistry and MOLSAMP.]
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Azalia Andrews was supported by the 2018 University of Missouri-Columbia Summer Research Internship Program's Department of Biochemistry and MOLSAMP.
Faculty Advisor: William Folk, PhD, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I was responsible for conducting all experiments in tandem with Julianne Yang and Anna Scharnagl, as well as altering individual variables and observing the effects of variables altered the photosynthetic capacity of each of the plants that we tested.