Science Project

claferg zone 9a FlSeptember 24, 2009

I am trying to help my granddaughter with her science project "Does Sugar Water Affect Plant Growth"

We have been doing some research on this and we are getting conflicting opinions. Some say that because of osmosis the plant would not be able to take up the sugar water. Some are saying that it would be able to absorb the sucrose. I was just wondering if anyone here had any thoughts about this. TIA

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lycopus(z5 NY)

Plants are capable of producing their own sucrose, so I doubt that it would impact growth much under normal conditions. Sucrose is typically added to the growth medium when doing tissue culture, so it definitely can be absorbed and utilized by plant cells.

Osmosis could play a role if the concentration of the sucrose in the solution is higher than what is in the plant cells. The tendency will be for water to move out of the plant cells, essentially dehydrating the plant. You can observe this phenomenon by taking slices of potato and putting them in solutions with different concentrations of sucrose or salt. In distilled water the potato will become very rigid due to the uptake of water (distilled water having a lower solute concentration than plant cells). When the solution has a higher solute concentration the potato will lose water and become flaccid.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2009 at 7:12PM
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The main effect is that the sucrose will allow for rapid growth of fungi, bacteria, etc., which are able to take up the sugar easily. These will then likely kill the plant.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2009 at 4:52AM
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FYI...I have, for many years urged gardeners to use granulated sugar or dried molasses to control root-knot nematodes. Over the years I have added handsfuls of sugar to vegetables/annuals/shrubs and in the hot south, where the nematodes are rampant, covering an entire lawn infected with them with sugar every eight weeks discourages them and allows for normal grass growth. Plus, many savy organic gardeners spread dried molasses on their lawns to encourage good fungi. At no time have I noted that sugar causes harmful bacteria or fungi. You might find it helpful to read throuh postings of the Organic Lawn Forum here on GardenWeb.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2009 at 3:15PM
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