The Effect of Increasing Amounts of Gamma Radiation on the Growth and Germination of Corn (Zea mays)

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The Effect of Increasing Amounts of Gamma Radiation on the Growth

and Germination of Corn (Zea mays)


_______________________

ABSTRACT

The effect of increasing amounts of radiation on the growth and germination of corn plants (Zea mays) was determined by measuring their plant height for a certain period of time. There were four setups, those treated with: 0, 10, 30, and 50 krad of radiation. The relationship between the amount of radiation and the plant height is inversely proportional. This relationship is the same for the amount of radiation and the number of surviving plants. Thus, radiation negatively affects a plant physiologically, biologically, and morphologically.

INTRODUCTION

Mutations are the changes in an organism's genetic material which are both heritable and essentially permanent. They either may be spontaneous, or induced by physical or chemical agents. (Mendioro, et al., 2002) They may also result from different types of changes in the DNA sequences of an organism. It may have no effect whatsoever, it may result to altered genetic products, or even prevent genes from functioning properly. (Sawyer et al., 2007) Induced mutations may be caused by chemicals such as hydroxyalamine, base analogs, DNA cross linkers, and other chemical-inducing agents; or radiation such as UVs or gamma radiations.

Radiation is the said to be the process wherein electromagnetc particles travel through a vacuum or any matter-containing medium. It is said to be the first discovered agent of mutation, specifically, during the 1920's. (Al-Salhi, et al., 2005) Radiation has two types: the ionizing radiation which is carcinogenic and may prevent the cells from doing their work as designed but may sometimes provide beneficial effects in terms of medicinal uses; and the non-ionizing which causes only a little amount of harm (except for UVs) but may also only give substantial effects. (Gale and Lax, 2013)

Gamma radiation is one of the many types of radiation discovered by man. It is preferred by most to be used for industrial processes because it has the ability to penetrate deeply unlike electron beams which can only reach up to the depth of only 1.5 inches. (Ricroch, et al., 2014)

According to Nordhauser and Olson (1998), gamma rays are found at high energy and frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since the ancient times, the principal source of gamma rays are radioisotopes. A radioisotope is an element with an unstable nucleus which spontaneously decays to produce another element. This decay process comes with the emission of gamma rays.

As written by De-vitta, et al., in 1993, double stranded breaks occur whenever a cell is exposed to a high amount of ionizing radiation (e.g. Gamma radiation) Once the repair mechanisms re-attach inappropriate pieces of DNA together, the result may be mutated DNA fragments. These mutated fragments may lead to the formation of cancerous bodies or tumors.

Many studies conducted in the past have revealed that the irradiation of plant seeds using gamma rays have affected physiological and biological processes of plants. Some of the processes affected are: hormonal balance (Rabie, et al., 1996), and protein synthesis (Xiuzher, 1994).

This study aimed to determine the effect of increasing amounts of radiation on the growth and germination of corn plants (Zea mays). The specific objectives were:

  1. To determine the effect of varying amounts of radiation on the growth of corn plants; and
  2. To determine the effects on the germination of the corn plants.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The Effect of Increasing Amounts of Gamma Radiation on the Growth and Germination of Corn Plants was determined through the measuring of its height and number of surviving plants periodically at a given amount of time Initially, there were 21 corn plants observed in total; 10 were given 0 krad of the radiation, 5 were tended with 10 krad of the radiation, 3 were treated with 30 krad, and another 3 were given 50 krad. the height of these corn plants were measured by a pair of Bio 30 A-6L students which were assigned to measure every week for 7 weeks, from the 15th of October until the 1st of December. The measuring schedule was during every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of every week until the end of the experiment. The materials used for measuring were meter sticks, rulers, or tape measures (whatever is available), and data sheets for recording the data.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The results showed in Table 1 that as the weeks passed, the number of the corn plants measured were decreasing. This is true for all individual observations, as well as the overall or total number of observed plants. For those treated with 0 and 10 krad, the number of plants observed decreased but at least one plant remained until the end of the observation period, which is December 1. But for those treated with 30 and 50 krad, decreased until there were no plants left to observed. There were already no plants left to observe at the 4th week (for 30 krad), and 1st week (for the 50 krad).

The average plant height was also decreasing with 50 krad having the lowest average height among the others. Those treated with 0 krad had a lower average height than those treated with 10 krad but that was probably because there was no recorded observation during November 28. This may have greatly affected the value of the average height of the plants treated with 10 krad since I used 20 instead of 21 as a denominator to compute for the average value of those treated with 10 krad since only 20 plants were observed. For those treated with 30 krad, I used 8 as a denominator since only 8 plant heights were recorded, and for 50 krad, I used 2 as the denominator.

Another observable pattern of the data was that as the amount of radiation used was increased (i.e 0 krad, 10 krad, 30 krad, and 50 krad), the plants' height, as well as its number decreased. for those treated with 30 and 50 krad, some of the plants even died even before the end of the experiment. As the amount of radiation increases, the germinated seedlings/ the number of surviving plants decreases as time passes by.

For the summary of the results, refer to Table 1 at the next page.

Table 1. The Effect of Gamma Radiation on the Height and Germination of Corn Plants.

Date

Names

0 krad

10 krad

30 krad

50 krad

Total number of plants observed

# of plants observed

Ave. height in cm

# of plants observed

Ave. height in cm

# of plants observed

Ave. height in cm

# of plants observed

Ave. height in cm

Oct-15

Hernandez, Lapiz

9

9.41

5

10.10

3

6.97

3

2.17

20

Oct-17

Hernandez, Lapiz

10

12.50

4

18.00

3

7.67

3

3.50

20

Oct-20

Espinas, Sendaydiego

9

18.83

4

23.00

2

5.75

0

0

15

Oct-22

Espinas, Sendaydiego

8

22.81

4

29.18

1

6.00

0

0

13

Oct-24

Espinas, Sendaydiego

8

23.21

4

30.03

1

8.20

0

0

13

Oct-27

Avacena, Sarmiento

8

24.65

4

34.43

1

8.00

0

0

13

Oct-29

Avacena, Sarmiento

8

26.06

4

37.00

1

7.00

0

0

13

Oct-31

Avacena, Sarmiento

8

26.93

4

37.63

1

6.50

0

0

13

Nov-3

Almoro, Salvatierra

8

30.40

4

42.23

0

0

0

0

12

Nov-5

Almoro, Salvatierra

8

31.41

4

44.03

0

0

0

0

12

Nov-7

Almoro, Salvatierra

8

33.93

4

45.63

0

0

0

0

12

Nov-10

Racho, Botanes

8

39.47

3

55.50

0

0

0

0

11

Nov-12

Racho, Botanes

8

43.38

2

67.50

0

0

0

0

10

Nov-14

Racho, Botanes

6

53.83

2

66.00

0

0

0

0

8

Nov-17

Mendoza, Rebong

6

59.67

2

65.25

0

0

0

0

8

Nov-19

Mendoza, Rebong

6

65.58

2

68.50

0

0

0

0

8

Nov-21

Mendoza, Rebong

6

66.50

2

69.75

0

0

0

0

8

Nov-24

Malabanan, De la Cruz

6

73.67

1

80.00

0

0

0

0

7

Nov-26

Malabanan, De la Cruz

6

78.17

1

87.00

0

0

0

0

7

Nov-28

Malabanan, De la Cruz

6

75.17

1

0

0

0

0

7

Dec-1

Dupla, Briones

6

80.88

1

89.00

0

0

0

0

7

Average height in cm

42.69

49.99

7.01

0

2.84

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Corn plants were exposed to different amounts of radiation. This was done to determine the effects of increasing amounts of radiation to the growth and germination of plants, using corn (Zea mays) as the experimental plant species.

The results have shown that the control group which were the ones treated with 0 krad had the second highest average height and the highest number of surviving plants in the experiment. The one with the highest plant height average was the ones treated with 10 krad, though the lack of data from November 28 affected greatly this result. If there was data on that date, its average height would have been a bit lower that the control group. If this was really the case, then the relationship between the plant height or the growth of the corn plants with the increasing amount of radiation is inversely proportional.

The higher the amount of radiation the plant was exposed to, the lower number of surviving plants it has by the end of the experimentation period. As such is shown by the plants treated with 30 and 50 krad of radiation. In 30 krad, just after 3 weeks of observation, the plants have already died or disappeared from the experimental station. In 50 krad, they died or disappeared just after 1 week of observation period.

LITERATURE CITED

AL-Salhi, M., M.M. Ghannam, M.S. Al-Ayed, S.U. El Kameesy and S. Roshdy. 2004. Effect of Gamma-irradiation on the biophysical and morphological properties of corn. Nahrung., 48: 95-96

De-vitta, J.R., V.T. Samuel, and S.A. Rosenberg. 1993. Cancer, Principles and Practice of Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Co.

Gale, R.P. and E. Lax. 2013. Radiation: What it is, What you need to know. USA: Random House.

Mendioro, M.S., R.P. Laude, M.G. Diaz, J.C. Mendoza and D.A Ramirez. 2013. Genetics: A Laboratory Manual. San Pablo City: 7 Lakes Printing Press. 97

Nordhauser, F.M. and W.P. Olson. 1998. Sterilization of Drugs and Devices: Technologies for the 21st Century. CRC Press.

Rabie, K., S. Shenata and M. Bondok. 1996. Analysis of Agricultural Science. Cairo, Egypt.

Richroch, A., C. Surinder and S.J. Fleischer. 2014. Plant Biotechnology: Experience and Future Prospects. USA: Springer Publications.

Sawyer, S.A., J. Parsch, Z. Zhang and D.L. Hartl. 2007. Prevalence of Positive Selection among Nearly Neutral Amino Acid Replacements in Drosophila. USA.

Xiuzher, L. 1994. Effect of Irradiation on Protein Content on Wheat Crop. China.

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