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Thread: Possible Radiation Exposure Experiment

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    Possible Radiation Exposure Experiment

    I mentioned something to this effect last year, but I again have the opportunity to possibly conduct an experiment with regards to radiation effects on plants.
    I am studying nuclear engineering and I might be spending the summer on campus taking a class/working on my current research project, and thought as a side project I might utilize the nuclear reactor on campus.
    Initial thoughts for experiments are germination rates of drosera seed from varying levels of exposure, strike rate of leaf pullings from drosera exposed to varying levels etc.

    Does anyone have any other interesting suggestions for what I might conduct?
    Also thoughts of seeing how neutron exposure measured up in sterilizing media compared to the photon exposure experienced in a microwave...this could have many applications

    All suggestions are welcome!

    --
    Also, conveniently, our delivery system is large enough to accommodate small TC vials, I wonder if something could be done with those!

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    Smile, it makes people nervous :) MH1's Avatar
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    LOL make a triffid

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    The research might be more interesting if you could demonstrate a real world application.

    UV radiation is certainly something that these plants would be naturally exposed to and are adapted to deal with. Within highland species, some plants live in conditions with higher insolation than others (i.e. north slope vs south slope). You could compare closely related species that are adapted to different levels of UV exposure and measure growth / seed set / germination following exposure.

    You may also take highland species that normally produce photo-protective pigments (reds for the most part), and grow some under UV blocking filters, then hit both protected and unprotected plants with uv and measure x, y, z fitness-related variables.

    Either of these types of projects have real world application beyond "what happens if a power plant melts-down near carnivorous plants". The trick would be if you have the capability to excite photons to the right wavelength. Otherwise, there's no need to use you fancy machinery :P

    I will be away doing field work for most of the summer, but let me know if there's anyway I can help. I'm a PhD in Biology :P

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    One real world application I considered was sterilization of seed/TC material from alpha particles. Having a penetrating depth of only 5 cells or so, I was considering whether it would be possible to use it as a sterilization technique without harming the plant. What if nepenthes could successfully be sterilized this way?

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    Sterilize them from pathogens you mean? Or purposefully make them sterile? I suppose both are possible but I'm not sure why you'd want the second option :P

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    Sterilize from pathogens, I know one problem with Nep TC is that they are much harder to properly sterilize.

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    I would try and sterilize the soft tissue of nepenthes using radiation without killing the plants cells.
    I'm pretty sure it could be done, it may come quickly or take a while.

    If you were to find a way to do this relatively safe, please try and make a kit for the TC people of our community.
    view my growlist
    http://grwlist.notlong.com

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    You know, they make those UV sterilization wands for vegetables. It might be worth trying that out as a "home remedy" for improving TC success. I would be worried about using them on developing corms, but cuttings should be fine with a quick exposure.

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