Grafted Watermelon Plants Take in More Pesticides – by American Chemical Society
- Observations and questions leading to the experiment
The main reason that led to this question and investigation is when there arose speculations about past studies, which had findings that showed that the farming method, which Turkish farmers use to graft melon plants, makes the melon plants to absorb considerable amounts of pesticides in their fruits. This study therefore, was meant to prove this case, so that farmers could get the warning, and adopt other farming practices of growing melons, or practise more caution while using grafting to grow melon plants. This is because the absorbed pesticides that find their way to the melon fruits are harmful to human health. Although grafting results in disease resistant crops, it also has a negative side, with regard to melons (“American Chemical Society”).
- The hypothesis
The most appropriate hypothesis would be, “If the organochlorine level is high in the grafted melon plants, compared to the intact melon plants, then grafting increases plants’ rate of pesticides absorption from the soil.” This is an example of a testing hypothesis, as it can be tested, and its variables and outcomes are measurable.
- The test
In order to prove this and find an answer to the raised question, the researchers performed a test. In the test, they used the graft seedlings of the watermelon-squash that is popular in Turkey. These seedlings were grown in soil obtained from a local farm in the area. They also experimented with the watermelons grown intact, without grafting. The difference between the two watermelon plants used in the test mainly base on grafting, as one melon plant is grafted, while the other is not. The soil used was the same, which was assumed to have a significant amount of organochlorine; a type of pesticide widely used in Turkey in the past, but later banned because of its health risks. The results showed the different melon plants absorbed organochlorine in varying amounts. This was a basis for drawing inferences and conclusions (“American Chemical Society”).
The test findings proved that grafting has an effect on the rate at which melon plants absorb pesticides in the soil. The soil sample used was one, but two melon plant samples. The grafted melons absorbed pesticides at a higher rate than the melon plants grown intact. After testing different parts of the plants, including their fruits for organochlorine, it emerged that grafted melon plants had an exceedingly high level of this pesticide, than the grafted melon plants (“American Chemical Society”).
The experiment was controlled by using different types of melon plants, grafted and intact melons. On the other hand, the soil sample used in the experiments was one, similar in nature and characteristics, and with equal amounts of organochlorine. In doing this, there is the intention of finding out the effect of grafting melon plants on pesticide absorption by the plants (“American Chemical Society”).
In this experiment, replication has not yet taken part in the test. This is because a similar test has not been conducted on a larger sample. Replication is important, as it validates the findings of an experiment. Similarly, randomization was not applied in the experiment, as samples were not selected randomly. Instead, the researchers intentionally selected one sample of melon plant that was grafted, and another that was not grafted (“American Chemical Society”).
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 high absorption rate of organochlorine is influenced by the element of squash used in the grafting process. Therefore, it is unfair to disregard grafting of melons, based exclusively on this test results. Other different types of graft seedlings of melon plants should be used in a different test, apart from the watermelon-squash graft seedlings that were used in this test. In another experiment, researchers could use watermelon-pumpkin graft seedlings in the place of watermelon-squash graft seedlings, and observe if the results will be similar or different. This will help farmers decide how to go about the practice of grafting melon plants.
American Chemical Society. “Grafted watermelon plants take in more pesticides.”ScienceDaily,
26 Jan. 2012. Web. 25 Jan. 2013.
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