Investigating if the Concentration of CuSO4 Affect the Germination of Barley Seeds

Investigating if the Concentration of CuSO4 Affect the Germination of Barley Seeds

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Investigating if the Concentration of CuSO4 Affect the Germination of Barley Seeds



When looking at the data collection sheet it can be seen that as the
concentration of CuSO4 increases, the percentage of seed germination
decreases. This already shows a clear sign that enzyme inhibition has

Looking at the “Average Length of Roots” graph, it can be seen that
the concentration of CuSO4 does inhibit the growth of roots
significantly because the average root length drops sharply after the
0% solution. However some of my results nay have been anomalous
because the decline is far too steep to draw any reliable conclusions.
When comparing this graph to the “Average Length of Shoot” graph, it
can be seen that the average shoot length for each concentration
depreciates at a steadier rate; perhaps then, heavy metal ions affect
enzymes that are responsible for root growth more than they affect
those that are responsible for shoot growth. This is could be a topic
for further investigation.

For both graphs however, its shows that the depreciation rate between
each concentration decreases. For example, using the “Average Length
of Roots” graph it can be seen that the gradient between each
concentration becomes steadier and steadier as the concentration
increases. This shows that inhibition of growth is affected most
directly after the 0% concentration.

When looking at the average mass of roots, we can see that it falls
from 0.98g to 0g from 10% copper sulphate solution to 0%
concentration. There is a substantial drop between 0% Copper Sulphate
and 10% showing that on average the best rate of growth for a seed is
without the presence of Copper Sulphate.


In my hypothesis, I stated that as the concentration of copper
sulphate solution increased, the level of seed germination would
decrease. I feel that my results clearly show this and prove my
hypothesis correct. The reason for this is because the enzymes used
for germination (amylase, maltase, lipases, proteases etc) are

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indirectly affected by the heavy metal ions, which change the shape of
the active site so that the enzyme cannot properly interact with the
substrate. This is known as the allosteric affect. Therefore, the more
heavy metal ions (higher concentration) the more enzyme ions are
affected resulting in less successful enzyme-substrate collisions.


Within this investigation there were many limitations which may have
hindered results and caused anomalies.

Firstly, when we measured out the concentrations of coppers sulphate
solution, there is already a degree of error of +/- 0.5mm. This may
have caused my results to be misleading and encourage false results.
However, my results seem to be pretty reliable and when comparing with
other members of my class, we have similar results in context to the
experiment. Using a burette or another more accurate measuring device
for future investigations could prevent or reduce the margin of error.

One factor to consider is that none of the seeds were the same; they
may have had different concentrations of enzymes in them etc. This
means that some seeds would have had more successful collisions than
others causing inaccurate results. Yet, it would not have been
possible to do the experiments on just on seed, so natural variation
had to become a limiting factor. We therefore had to use quite a few
seeds to get a fairly useful set of data.

The seeds we used were kept out of sunlight so that photosynthesis
didn’t affect the germination of the seeds. However, we know that
sunlight got to them because the door kept opening to see if any
germination was taking place. Yet, all the seeds were subject to the
same amount of sunlight as the others, so results should not have been
affected significantly. If the investigation was carried out again, I
would make sure that the experiments were kept sealed away for a
certain amount of time before collecting data. So, time could be
another controlled variable on the investigation.

Another factor is human error, such as measuring the length of the
shoots and roots etc, which has a margin of error of 0.5mm for length
and 0.5g for mass. Although these would only be small inaccuracies,
the data would still be affected and allow for inaccurate conclusions
to be drawn. Doing this investigation again, I would use much more
accurate measuring equipment such as scales which are more accurate or
maybe just a ruler with smaller scales.

Finally, when we actually sealed the test tubes into the bag, we blew
air into it. So we actually blew in CO2, which may have helped
germination to occur as plants take in CO2. This may have caused
varied results among the seeds because some seeds may have been
subjected to more CO2 than others, causing anomalous, inaccurate data.
Doing the investigation again, we could use a more suitable method of
maintaining the air concentration within the sealed bag.

These factors may have contributed to the varied result for each
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