tmsgremskispring2022 project 1

Project by group tmsgremskispring2022

Explore From our prior knowledge, we were aware of the important roles plants play in ecosystems, and the chemical processes they perform that fuel all life. In our research, we have discovered that plants are vulnerable to various bacteria that can infest soil. Our group is interested in investigating factors that can potentially influence the rate of infection and susceptibility of various vegetables for the soft rot disease.
Research Question Does the level of glucose in vegetables affect the spread of infection?
Predictions We believe that the infection will spread faster in vegetables with high glucose levels because this may provide more nutrients to bacteria.
Experimental Design We will have multiple kinds of vegetables, two of each. For high levels of glucose, we will use sweet potatoes and beets. For medium glucose levels, we will use onions and russet potatoes, and for low glucose levels, cucumbers and red potatoes. Then, we will take toothpicks dipped with a soft rot liquid solution to begin the spread of infection. We will inoculate each vegetable by protruding it in four locations with toothpicks. We will wrap these vegetables in wet paper towels, and will place them in ziplock bags. Then, a few days later, we will measure the spread of infection throughout the vegetables. We will dissect each vegetable to check for soft rot, and will place any infected tissue on a glass slide and check for bacteria under a microscope. We will keep the location of the vegetables constant, as varying temperatures and sunlight can affect the results. A table will be created with an indication of the level of infection of each kind of vegetable.
Conclusion The russet potatoes, red potatoes, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes all showed signs of infection on some level. The beets and onions showed no signs of infection. At first, we were surprised that some of the sweeter vegetables, such as the beets, were not infected at all, while some vegetables with low glucose levels, such as the cucumbers, were highly infected. However, after learning that the soft rot disease typically affects cucurbits, potatoes, and carrots in the real world, but does not impact beets, we realized that the glucose levels of a vegetable do not affect its susceptibility to soft rot. Rather, the kind of vegetable constitutes its susceptibility. This project can be taken on another level to observe any genetic similarities of susceptible vegetables that can potentially cause their vulnerabilities to soft rot.
Investigation Theme PGST
Grade Level High School Students (Grades 9,10,11,12)
Teacher Name Kristina Gremski
School Name The Masters School
Session Spring 2022
About this Project

The students worked very well together in conceptualizing their experimental design and carrying out the project. They came up with an interesting research question. When their data didn't corroborate their hypothesis, they thought about possible alternate explanations and suggested areas for future research.
--Ethan M. Taber, Scientist Liaison