How Do Different Types Of Radioactive Isotopes Affect Plant Life

1118 words - 5 pages

Radiation has fascinated many people for decades. Radiation is the result of nuclear decay and this releases radioactive isotopes in many different forms of radiation. Some scientists have conducted experiments using plants as test subjects for radiation. Researchers at the University of Edinburg have tested the effects of cosmic radiation against the growth of spruce trees and the rings inside them. NASA also did a study on how UV-B rays affect plant life and everything that depends on the photosynthesis resulting from those rays. Yet, not many people have written books on this subject
My experiment is about how outside sources such as the UV-B rays other radiation influences the growth of plants. I have conducted an experiment where I use four different types of radiation (cosmic, UV, alpha, and beta). My findings concluded that the cosmic radiation was positive for the healthy growth of plants. This was also proved by the "Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science" in 2005 when they found a correlation between copious amounts of sunlight and the rapid growth of growth rings that were formed in Sitka spruce trees. They discovered that the galactic cosmic radiation produced a cloud of condensation nuclei which increased the process of photosynthesis within the trees. One of the scientists noted that "the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than to any climatological factors" (Sigrid Dengel University of Edinburgh). The only method the research team could us to prove this was to scrutinize the rings inside of a spruce tree. They then obtained slices of these trees by finding one that had fallen down or recently cut from the Forest of Ae in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. The slices that they studied were from trees that were planted in the early fifties and were used for their baseline. These were perfect for studying because they were mature and had many rings to observe. The next step was to freeze the baseline trees slices. Their reasoning for this was that by freezing the slices the temperature would keep the wood from shrinking so they had a longer time to view the rings. The research team then scanned the slices to see how many rings there were and how far apart they were. They discovered that the trees that received low levels of cosmic rays had smaller rings, a key indicator of growth, than the trees that received higher levels of cosmic radiation.
The sun gives off two types of UV radiation; UV-A and UV-B. The main type of UV radiation that everything on earth is exposed to is UV-B (280-320 nm) radiation. Amounts of UV-B radiation are starting to increase due to manmade chlorofluorocarbons. The United Nations Environment Program predicts the every one percent depletion of the ozone will cause the amounts of UV-B radiation to increase by two to three percent. Scientists at NASA's Earth Observatory found that plants exposed to UV radiation will have trouble growing, producing many...

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