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Do Different Detergents Effect Plant Growth?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2547 words Published: 5th Jun 2017

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Somehow, though all life on earth has been created to be equally beautiful and unique in its own way, the plant kingdom is something that always has the most astounding of wonders, flowers that are synonymous with beauty, fields that personify heavenly scenery and gigantic trees that are only a minute reminder of nature’s infinite power, are just the beginning of a long list of the incredible sights that the green kingdom beholds.

But as everything else in the world of today, these greeneries are also strongly hit by the one common and dramatically disastrous problem: POLLUTION!

The contamination of the Air, the effluence of toxic waste in precious river and lake waters and toxic wastelands of precious soil deposits play pivotal roles in the degradation of these beautiful stores of life.

Water pollution, however, is the hardest hitting of the lot, with effects ranging over a large span. The effects of water pollution are far-reaching and affect not only the environment, but human beings and animals as well. Water pollution affects our oceans, lakes, rivers, and drinking water, making it a widespread and global concern. Numerous diseases, health problems, and even fatalities have been associated with water pollution.

Water is considered polluted when chemicals, pathogens, or contaminants are detected. Human beings have the most crucial impact on our water resources. They also have the ability to control or eliminate water pollution.

Causes of Water Pollution

Farmers often use chemicals to hinder bug infestations or other diseases from damaging or ruining their crops. They may also use chemicals to enhance the growth of their crops. Either way, these chemicals seep into the ground water or run off into lakes, creeks, or rivers, causing water pollution. Farmland that is irrigated and treated with chemicals in the form of fertilizers or pesticides is a major contributor to water pollution.

Industrial processes produce toxic waste containing heavy metals. When heavy metals filter into water, they are fatal to marine life. Shellfish and fresh fish are staple menu items for people around the world.

Humans are affected by the heavy metals ingested by the fish and shellfish, causing health problems and sometimes death. The heavy metals in water have also been linked to severe birth defects, a damaged or suppressed immune system, cancer, fertility problems, and developmental problems in children.

The construction industry is the major fault for contaminating our water resources with cement, lubricants, plastics and metals. Rivers and lakes are also polluted from heavy silt or sediment run-off from construction sites. Ground water pollution occurs when chemicals, debris, garbage, oil or other harmful contaminants enter the ground water supply over time. Ground water is often a resource for our drinking water. If it isn’t treated properly, those harmful elements can cause serious health issues for human beings and domestic animals.

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Natural catastrophes are the cause of water pollution effects as well. Major upheavals such as storms, earthquakes, acid rain, floods, and volcano eruptions have been known to disrupt the ecological system and pollute water. The growth of algae due to food items, feces, or urea in the water source is also a source of water pollution. When algae grow in water, it uses up more than its fair share of oxygen, causing other living organisms in the body of water to suffer. Certain types of algae can be fatal if they reach an algal bloom stage, otherwise known as brown or red tides. The process of contamination begins with tiny organisms called zooplankton and travels up the food chain through clams, birds, marine creatures, and ultimately, humans. These types of algae are considered toxic because they have been known to cause fatalities in humans. Even overgrowths of non-toxic types of algae can effectively block the sunlight from penetrating the water’s surface, which makes it difficult for marine life to find food, causing eventual death.

Littering on the land or on the water is a source of water pollution. Debris tossed onto land eventually makes its way into storm drains and then returns to surface water. Ships and boats discharging human waste or chemicals into the water directly are simply speeding up the pollution process.

Industrial accidents that dump chemicals into the water kill marine life swiftly and within a short period of time. As the fish and plant life decompose, further water pollution occurs. Even sunken ships are a contributor to water pollution. As the ship corrodes and decays over time, those pieces of debris or chemicals are released into the ocean or freshwater lake. Once again, marine life is affected, which means humans who eat those fish or shellfish can be adversely harmed as well.

Major Effects of Water Pollution

The effects of water pollution are far-reaching and affect not only the environment, but human beings and animals as well. Water pollution affects our oceans, lakes, rivers, and drinking water, making it a widespread and global concern. Numerous diseases, health problems, and even fatalities have been associated with water pollution.

Water is considered polluted when chemicals, pathogens, or contaminants are detected. Human beings have the most crucial impact on our water resources. They also have the ability to control or eliminate water pollution.

The effects of water pollution are numerous. Some water pollution effects are recognized immediately, whereas others don’t show up for months or years. Additional effects of water pollution include:

·€ € € The food chain is damaged. When toxins are in the water, the toxins travel from the water the animals drink to humans when the animals’ meat is eaten.

· Diseases can spread via polluted water. Infectious diseases such as typhoid and cholera can be contracted from drinking contaminated water. This is called microbial water pollution. The human heart and kidneys can be adversely affected if polluted water is consumed regularly. Other health problems associated with polluted water are poor blood circulation, skin lesions, vomiting, and damage to the nervous system. In fact, the effects of water pollution are said to be the leading cause of death for humans across the globe.

· Acid rain contains sulfate particles, which can harm fish or plant life in lakes and rivers.

· Pollutants in the water will alter the overall chemistry of the water, causing changes in acidity, temperature and conductivity. These factors all have an effect on the marine life.

· Marine food sources are contaminated or eliminated by water pollution.

· Altered water temperatures (due to human actions) can kill the marine life and affect the delicate ecological balance in bodies of water, especially lakes and rivers.

Our main aim is to reproduce our polluted environment by scaling it down to using instruments which are practical and feasible enough to use in any laboratory.

Explanation of Research Question

Do different concentrations of different detergent affect the growth of root and shoot in Vigna Radiata (Mung bean)?

This question mainly addresses the topic of stunted growth of plants. Different detergents contain various powerful surfactants such as sodium dodecyl sulfate. These detergents characteristically aggregate lipids and denature proteins. When detergents are absorbed by a plant, the detergents can cause cell membranes to collapse and membranes to function improperly. This can cause part or all of a plant to die.

Depending on the various concentrations of these pollutants, the plant shows different levels of growth, ascending from the least growth in the most concentrated of solutions (0.5%) to the highest in pure distilled water.

Our main aim, under this research question, is to find out the trends in growth affection of plants that are subjected to these detergents.

Materials and Methods

Materials Required

Surf Excel

Tide washing powder

Test tubes


Petri dishes

Mung bean



Capillary tubes

Distilled water


detergent cartoons, detergent cartoon, detergent picture, detergent pictures, detergent image, detergent images, detergent illustration, detergent illustrations

Detergents have only been around for about 85 years, even though soaps have been around for about 3,000 years. Detergents were first produced in Germany about the beginning of World War I. Plants are one of four families in scientific classification. They differ from animals in that they have chlorophyll and cell walls in their cells.

Detergent is defined as “a cleansing substance that acts similarly to soap but is made from chemical compounds rather than fats and lye.” By the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Modern detergents contain a chemical called a surfactant, which, defined by Word Net 1.6 is “A substance capable of reducing the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved.” This allows the detergent to spread further, penetrate better and clean much more efficiently. With the addition of “builders,” which make the surfactants work much better. Detergents are used mainly for four different things: personal cleansing, laundry, dish washing and house cleaning.

Detergent Popularity

Detergents are far from being as old as soap, but today they are the best selling method of washing clothes and dishes. Detergent popularity has grown exponentially since around 1950. In between 1940 and 1972 the sales of detergents went from about 4,500 tons per year to around 4,448,000 tons per year.

Detergents, as was stated, were first seen around the beginning of W.W.I. The exact year is 1916. They were first used Because of the war related shortage of fats. It was sold under the general name Nekal. The discovery of detergents was in part because the people where looking for a cleaning substance, that, unlike soaps, would not mix with the minerals in water to make a wax like residue called “soap curd.” They were not as high quality detergents as we have now, and were used mostly as wetting agents in textile work. The quality didn’t change much in the 20’s and 30’s, with only minor enhancements. The sales for detergents really skyrocketed around the beginning of W.W.II, with a shortage of fats and oils needed to produce soap. The military badly needed a cleaning agent that wouldn’t mix with the mineral rich waters to make soap curd. The breakthrough came at the end of the war in 1946. Up to then detergents were used for hand dish washing and washing sensitive clothing. The first all-purpose laundry detergent had surfactants and builders. The builders greatly improved the efficiency of the surfactants. By the end of 1950, soaps had almost been forgotten as a way to wash clothes and dishes, but were still used at the same time as detergents. Through the years, detergents have changed a lot. In the 50’s detergents were used in dishwashers and for the laundry. They were adapted to be bleaches. Fabric softeners were also developed. In the 70’s they manufactured liquid hand soap. In the 80’s they made liquid dishwasher detergent, detergents for colder water washing and concentrated detergents. In the 90’s they manufactured super-concentrated detergents and dishwasher gels.

Detergents used:

To counterfeit the pollution of natural water environments, we will use two different detergents, both of which use surfactant molecules, these have two parts. One is “water loving” and the other is “water hating.” The water-loving (hydrophilic) part breaks the surface tension of water. The water-hating (hydrophobic) part is attracted to oil and grease in soils, loosening and removing them from fabrics. Detergents usually contain more than one type of surfactant to address the needs of removing certain types of soils and cleaning different types of fabrics.

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The Mung bean is the name of the seed of Vigna radiata, an ovoid, greenish brown dicot which is native to parts of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. The mung bean is one of many species recently moved from the genus Phaseolus to Vigna and is still often seen cited as Phaseolus aureus or Phaseolus adiates. These variations of nomenclature have been used regarding the same plant species.

Plant Taxonomy

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Vigna

Species: V. radiata’

History of Plant

Originally from Asia, the Chinese have been growing mung bean sprouts (Nga choy or Nga choi) for approximately 3,000 years. Farmers grow them often with little machinery. After harvest they are left to dry on gravel roads. So the dust and dirt on your mung beans that you buy from the store is actually from a road in China. Today China and India are the main producers of mung beans; it is also grown in Australia. The mung is also popular in the Philippines where they call it Munggo.

Climate and Soil

Mung beans are mainly cultivated in China, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, Bangladesh and India, but also in hot and dry regions of South Europe and Southern USA. In India and Bangladesh, they are grown during two seasons. One is the Rabi season (starting November), and the other is the Kharif season (starting June). Mung beans are tropical (or sub-tropical) crops, and require warm temperatures (optimally round 30-35°C). Loamy soil is best for pusap cultivation.

Nutritional Values

Mung beans are a good source of Vitamins A, B, C & E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and amino acids. Mung beans contain 20% protein and are a good source of foliate and dietary fibre.



Amount of sunlight received by seeds

Levels of Oxygen and Carbon di-oxide supplied to seeds

Species of viable seeds


Amount of Solution use


The concentration of detergents in solution (0.1% to 0.5%)


The length of the shoot in Vigna radiata (in cms)

The length of the root in Vigna radiata (in cms)


Cover the base of 11 different petri dishes with cotton (10 + 1 control)

Mark the petri dishes according to the percentage concentration of detergent in each (From 0.1% -0.5%)

Separate the petri dishes according to the detergent used, 5 with Surf Excel, 5 with Tide powder and one control dish with distilled water.

Place an equal number of Vigna Radiata seeds in each petri dish (10)

Ensure equal amounts of sunlight and carbon di-oxide levels to each petri dish.

Tend to the seeds for 10 days and calculate root and shoot growth of seeds in all concentrations at the end of that period.


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