Glyphosate-Resistant ‘Superweeds’ May Be Less Susceptible to Diseases – by Purdue University
- Observations and questions leading to the experiment
The main reason that led to this question and investigation is when farmers in the United States reported that the once popular and effective herbicide “RoundUp” was no longer having an effect on superweeds, as it did before. This herbicide had a major strong element called “glyphosate,” that was effective at killing weeds. This had made the farmers to drift from RoundUp and start using other types of herbicides in the market. Researchers therefore sought to establish what reasons were behind the poor performance of the ingredient “glyphosate.”
- The hypothesis
The most appropriate hypothesis would be; “If superweeds planted in sterile soil with Glyphosate are destroyed, then microbes have an effect on the function of Glyphosate in soil.” This is an example of a testing hypothesis, as it can be tested, and its variables and outcomes can as well be measured.
- The test
In order to prove this and find an answer to the raised question, the researchers performed a test. In the test, they grew different types of weeds in two types of soils. The giant ragweed, horseweed and common lambsquarter were planted in both sterile soil and field soil, which was subjected to glyphosate. In both soil types, the weeds planted were strains of both susceptible and resistant to glyphosate were tested. The reason of using sterile and field soil was that sterile soil lacked bacteria and microbes, while the field soil had both bacteria and microbes. Microbes were therefore, the main aspect upon which the test based on. The results showed different effects of glyphosate on the weeds, and this was used to draw inferences and conclusions.
The test findings proved that microbes have a role they play in the activity of glyphosate. The sterile soil had no microbes, while the field soil had microbes, and these had different results after the test. Most probably, the microbes weaken the power of glyphosate when they invade the glyphosate-weakened plants. Another finding was that weeds that are resistant to glyphosate might as well be resistant to other plant diseases.
The experiment was controlled by using different soils for the different weed types. One type of soil is the field soil with microbes, and the other is sterilized soil, without microbes. In doing this, there is the intention of finding out the effect of microbes on the activity of glyphosate. Replication has not yet taken part in the test. This is because a similar test has not been conducted on a larger sample. Replication, being the repetition of the experiment, helps prove the test results.
Randomization was not applied in the experiment, as samples were not selected randomly. Instead, the researchers selected those weeds that were resistant to the herbicide, and those that were susceptible to the herbicide. In addition, the researchers adopted different types of samples, which were more than two in total.
5. State any new questions you have after reading this article. Describe a
new experiment to answer these questions
After reading this article, one may wonder if it is possible that the manufacturing process of the Round Up was altered knowingly or unknowingly, removing glyphosate or any other important chemical ingredient that was previously effective in the elimination of the superweeds. Thus, instead of blaming it on the resistance of the weeds, it is possible that the blame can be put on the manufacturing process. To answer this question, an experiment would be conducted, with one group of weeds put in soil that is treated with the past type of RoundUp to be produced, while another group of weeds is put in a soil with the latest RoundUp herbicide. The difference in the reaction of the weeds to the two herbicides would be a clear indicator of differences in the components used to manufacture the two herbicides.
Purdue University. “Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be less susceptible to
diseases.” ScienceDaily, 17 Jul. 2012. Web. 24 Jan. 2013.
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