Biology Stinks

Anthony P Sexton sexton at STOLAF.EDU
Thu Dec 8 23:26:39 EST 1994

Hi folks,
	Have you ever thought how much biology stinks?  I sure have, but 
it is a fascinating FIELD.  For my plant physiology class I have been 
working on the effect of a compost slurry (manure and water) on lettuce 
seed germination and arabidopsis seed germination.  So far my results 
have indicated that a small amount of slurry can drastically affect seed 
germination.  Too much slurry ( 2 mls slurry with 3 mls water) will cause 
the seeds to remain dormant.  I also tested the non-germinated seeds to 
see if they could recover.  I planted the slurry exposed seeds on petri 
dishes and filter paper and added water.  I watched for germination, but 
the plants were not able to recover.  I reduced the amount of slurry to 
125, 250, and 500 microliters and the results have indicated 
increasing amounts of slurry delay the rate of seed germination for both 
lettuce and arabidopsis.  Due to a lack of space in the lab, I had to 
perform several experiments in a confined area.  I noticed that the seeds 
that were planted in a high-dose slurry seemed to affect the separate 
experiment next to it.  I am wondering if the gas emitted from the dishes 
inhibited the seed germination of the other dishes.  Luckily I didn't 
ruin my classmates experiments.  However, I didn't make any friends by 
smelling up the lab.  Hey, at least this time I had a reasonble excuse 
for the smell.  Blaming it on the cafeteria doesn't get me anywhere.  I had 
fun explaining to them that even though my experiment smelled like crap, 
face it, it is still science.
	I am wondering if anybody out there has worked on similar 
projects or has at least read about results concerning this topic.  Any 
feedback or information would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks for your 
attention in this matter.
	Also, I am currently doing research on optimizing the anaerobic 
waste digestor process.  I would like to find out information on how I 
can increase the amount of methane that is produced.  Should I add 
certain plants to the cow manure and water solution?
	Well, I need to run.  The smell police are quickly trying to 
track me down.  Based on the aroma that has stuck to me, I don't think I 
will be hard to find.  Hope to hear from all of you soon!  Have a great 
Tony Sexton
<sexton at>

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