# Effects of electricity on plants

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Guest quigley_will

I have decided to do a science fair project on the effects of electricity on plants. If anyone could provide links to pages with this kind of information, it would be greatly appreciated.

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sup man, just a few quick questions before i go off and about...

What grade are you in? (so i have an idea at what level info should be at)

What are you thinking the effect of electricity on plants might be? (just curious, but also to help me understand the level of your understanding)

Cool, sounds like it could be a rather fun project, and while difficult to some extent, it should give some insights into how science is approached

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Skye    143

Interesting idea, I haven't seen anything about it before. I took a look on google but I couldn't find anything worthwhile. Because they don't have nervous systems electricity won't have the same dramatic effect as with animals. The most impressive scenario will be lightning strikes. With a smaller current flowing through a plant you might get some effects due to chemicals being attracted to the negative or positive poles. Plant growth and development is controlled by the amounts of different hormones present in the cells. If electricity had an effect on the migration of these hormones you might get some changes in the rate of growth.

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Sounds like a really interesting project, i cant think of any advice, i'd really like to hear the results when you finish. What exactly are you going to see if the electricity effects? Like-- low level electricity speeds growth and preserves from death (i don't know if it does, just an idea)-------- what would looking for in your experiment?

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YT2095    591

it would be neat to see if the plant actualy generates any electricity as well, say perhaps a platinum electrode in the plant pot and a platinum needle in the plant and see if there a current diferential in light or dark conditions too.

High voltage discharges (lightning in nature) is also used to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil too, something plants love to eat for green vegetative growth stages.

alternating electrical feilds can also effect plant growth (depending on frequency and amplitude), you could experiment with that too perhaps?

Please let us know how you get on and your results, Im a plant experimenteer also (hybrids) but Ive never done anything along the lines of your idea, Im looking forwards to hearing about it

All the best

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aman    30

Out here in Nebraska we get lightning strikes in open cornfields and lots of times even after plowing there will be a crop-free circle about 10ft in diameter for several years. The corn or sorghum that does grow on the edges usually looks mutated. If you could get a hold of some of the mutated plants they might be interesting to study. I wish I'd have done that myself but I was to busy at the time.

Good luck and sounds like a fun challenge you have ahead.

Just aman

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ive bumped this thread b/c i will be doing this experiment!

I went to the home depot tonite and purchased 6 carnivorous venus fly traps, and 6 italian basil plants(serves 2 purposes;))

3 of each will be used as the constant, the other 3 will be subjected to sporadic pulses of electricity during the times they are photosynthesizing. I do not know of any possible outcomes as of yet, im thinking the addition of this current will definately.. change something lol... im hoping, or i raised the value of home depot stock

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Sayonara    667

Venus fly traps are tricky to keep alive at the best of times, so make sure you know how to keep them happy before you start or you'll get false results.

Iirc they need deionised water and nutrient-poor soil.

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it would be neat to see if the plant actualy generates any electricity as well, say perhaps a platinum electrode in the plant pot and a platinum needle in the plant and see if there a current diferential in light or dark conditions too.

I think I have seen this a long time ago. Isn't that how they tested their communication process? They attatched some sort of speaker to the electrical charge, and it made whistling sounds. It was believed that the plants could communicate? I think that's how they did it, but I'm not sure.

Pincho.

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YT2095    591
Hades said in post # :

ive bumped this thread b/c i will be doing this experiment!

I went to the home depot tonite and purchased 6 carnivorous venus fly traps, and 6 italian basil plants(serves 2 purposes;))

3 of each will be used as the constant, the other 3 will be subjected to sporadic pulses of electricity during the times they are photosynthesizing. I do not know of any possible outcomes as of yet, im thinking the addition of this current will definately.. change something lol... im hoping, or i raised the value of home depot stock

cool!!!

how do you plan on delivering this charge? and what type of charge will it be (volts, current, any frequency etc...)?

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Sayonara³ said in post # :

Venus fly traps are tricky to keep alive at the best of times, so make sure you know how to keep them happy before you start or you'll get false results.

Iirc they need deionised water and nutrient-poor soil.

excellent point; ive been growing carnivorous plants for over a year now, thru the winter months when they should be allowed to undergo dormancy was the most difficult part. They are contained in a peat moss soil, and their diet consists of baby grasshoppers usually on the whim of 5 a month. When the plant wishes to consume no more, the lobes will not close nearly as fast and even then only slightly around the grasshopper. Ive noticed that plant tends to either undergo more photosynthesis when it no longer eats bugs, or it is using the water for some kind of replenishment of its chemicals b/c the amount of water it then consumes is amazing!

YT... undecided as of yet, i had an idea a couple of days ago but that was eradicated when i heard of another person applying a direct current to a plant stem resulting in death a few days later. If u have ideas i would like to hear them!

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YT2095    591

well a few ideas yeah

1stly youde have to use reasonably inert electrodes (carbon or graphite) as the use of non prescious metals will make metal salts and poison the plant and Im fairly sure many of us here cant afford platinum or gold electrodes

secondly its been found that plants respond to certain frequencies in the way of sound, plant growth stimulators emit a constant "Click" sound a bit like a metronome, also leaving a radio on for them to "listen" to works great as well, so maybe a pulsed DC across the soil say once every second in a 1/10th second burst, at say maybe 3 volts, the natural resistance of the soil at that voltage will keep the current down (mili amps).

I wouldnt go for straight DC, Ide try pulsing it instead.

just a few ideas for ya

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Update: The apparatus was assembled tonite and will be going on in two more days. It consists of an a/c current. i believe this is the correct unit, volts. I am learning slowly about the physics behind the electricity so dont flame me.

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Also wanted to add that i believe using varying amounts of current, i will receive a wider amount of response from the experimental plants. Im assuming as if read that the higher ampage should kill the plant; to which i hae no objections. I am curious as to how a low level current will stimulate the plant, and i am assuming it too will die, altho slower.

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YT2095    591

the currect will vary with soil moisture, are the cylinder things resistors or battery cells?

I assume resistors as the voltages you wrote would be backwards if they were 3 volt cells.

the problem using resistors is that they wont limit voltage, only current. so your calcs have to be 100% perfect and the moisture content and resistance knows and be maintained at a constant, that way you could set up a PD and get your voltages acurate

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Yes, it will have those. Thankfully enough my so's father is an electrical engineer and it kind enough to guide me thru the process, thoroughly and accurately.

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YT2095    591

excellent!, sounds like you`ll not need our help too much then

but Please lemme know how it turns out!

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im doing the same project and i found a site with some good info. try madsci.org. you just have to type in the Q. and you might want to find out how to creat an electromagnetic field.

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I have decided to do a science fair project on effect of electricity on plant growth

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balinor    10

I'm also looking into the effects of plants and electricity. I wonder if a low steady pulse was used to stimulate the plant if it would die, or grow faster, or slower, or have a stunted growth altogether. I'm at a loss for what to use for the low steady pulse of electricity though. Any ideas would be most welcome.

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Antesule    10

I have a waxflower (hoya) at home and observed that it forms a shoot that did grow towars a cable out of the wall where you fix your lightballs on. The cable was about 60cm long and the shoot reached it from 40cm away and was twistind around it, even the cable was on the opposite of the window and there was no light in this direction (I did not turn a lightball in this cable). Now one year ago I shifted to a new house and observe now the same. The plant is hanging in front of the window but now also did form a shoot that grows in the direction of the cable from the lightball (now there is a light, but anyway, it is not very bright and on the opposite site as the sunny window).

Interesting, I thought and tried to find something out (I´m biologist...) but with no succsess on google. Since people here are interested in studiing things like that, I would recommand to use this plant for the studies :-)

I can find out the exact plant-specie or provide pictures if anybody is interested.....I am.

Cheers, Antesule

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Speaking of crop-circle, does anybody know if there exists a formula to decide if a geometric object was made by humans or not ? (Like a measure of entropy or some dimension like in fractals ?)

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GDG    185
Speaking of crop-circle, does anybody know if there exists a formula to decide if a geometric object was made by humans or not ? (Like a measure of entropy or some dimension like in fractals ?)

p $\propto$ N

where p is the probability the geometric object was made by humans, and

N is the number of human footprints in the vicinity. For crop circles, p = 1.