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Re: [APD] Help needed ... understanding results in science project about aquatic plants!

Awesome, Shireen, I love these kinds of experiments! First thing, 
knowing schools, experiments, and trademarked companies, might want to 
drop the Tide name. You can call it stain-fight washing detergent or 
something else, but I think copywritten names are a no-no. Just my 
$0.02, don't want any trouble for you. Same goes for the other "chemicals".

Not knowing any dosing amounts, I'll see if I can help.

> /For the Tide plant, mature leaves have all turned brown. However,  
> there's been a profusion of plantlets sprouting from the brown adult  
> leaves. Those plantlets are starting to show patches of brown, and  
> will probably be dead in a few days.
> /

/Tide case: we know that the detergent has "enzymes" for getting rid  of 
stains, including grass stains. So I'm assuming that these enzymes  are 
attacking the mature leaves, causing them to turn brown. But what's 
causing so many plantlets to pop out? Is it caused by a chemical trigger 
in the detergent? Could it be that there's a built- in chemical trigger 
in stressed parent leaves to create plantlets  before they turn brown 
and die?/

I think you're partly right. I don't know about a chemical trigger, but 
maybe more of a preservation trigger. The plant is stressed and trying 
to do what it can to save itself. Now, what's causing the stress? I 
don't know if the enzymes are solely the reason, maybe a combination of 
all the chemicals and the enzymes. It's hard to say unless you have a 
jar with each of them separately to find the culprit.

> /For the pyrethrin plant, the mature leaves are still green but there  
> are many plantlets sprouting from them -- not as many as the Tide  
> plant, but still, a surprisingly large number of plantlets compared  
> to the control plant.
> Pyrethrin case: this compound is extracted from chrysanthemum  
> flowers. Pyrethroids are the synthetic version of that natural  
> compound. They destroy bugs by messing with their nervous system.  
> (http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/pyrethrins.pdf ) There's also  
> concern about the compound's effect on aquatic animals like fish and 
> crustaceans (http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060204/bob9.asp).  
> According to an abstract at http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/ 
> articlerender.fcgi?artid=1566380, pyrethroids are hormone disruptors.  
> Although the paper is about its effect on breast cancer cells, I'm  
> wondering if there's a similar mechanism in pyrethrin/pyrethroids  
> pushing the plant's asexual reproduction into overdrive? /

I think the pyrethrin plant is following the same course - stress. The 
thing with these chemicals is not the main ingredient, but the other 
stuff. Check the bottle, the pyrethrin is usually low in concentration. 
I know the 2 bottles I have are. However, they both have that horrid 
chemical smell from the "other" stuff. It is a nervous system killer. 
Plants don't have nervous systems ;-). That's why we spray plants with 
them. As far as hormone disruptors, I think again this many be animal 
systems instead of plants. Personally I think this one is chalked up to 
stress and the other ingredients of the pesticide. The tablespoon to 1 
gallon dilution rate, plus only a mist on a plant, is enough to prohibit 
the withering in our garden plants that you're noticing in the experiment.

BTW, you didn't mention the snail's activities.
Good luck.

Jamie <"///><

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