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Research Challenge #3:
Is seed germination affected by herbicide residues in soil?

Suppose that you are interested in planting a garden or farm field but have no idea what chemicals have previously been used in that soil. Or maybe you've seen dead grass and weeds along fencelines and have wondered how far the herbicides might have spread in the surrounding soil, or how long their effects will last. Perhaps you have applied an herbicide yourself and are wondering how long it will take before it is safe to plant new seeds in that area.

These kinds of questions can be addressed using seed germination bioassays. A fact sheet from Cornell's Horticulture Department describes how to carry out this type of bioassay and what sorts of treatment are possible if harmful herbicide residues are found in soil.

Your challenge is to come up with an interesting research question that relates to herbicide residues in soil, then design and carry out one or more bioassay experiments to address your question. Be sure to share your results using EI's discussion boards or on-line peer review system. Good luck and have fun!


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