Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Yihan Wu, High Technology High School, Morganville, NJ
Hormones play a wide variety of roles in plant responses to the environment; even changes in a single hormone can cause several different behaviors. Ethylene, long recognized to regulate abscission and promote fruit ripening, might also have a major role in thigmotropism, the tendril twirling characteristic of certain plants. The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of an ethylene inhibitor on the thigmotropism displayed by Morning Glory plants. The expected result was that the ethylene inhibitor would cause a significant difference displayed by Morning Glory plants treated with and without it. In order to measure the difference in thigmotropism, plants were monitored by a time-lapse camera for a twelve-hour period. The experimental trials (plants treated with the ethylene inhibitor) had the ethylene inhibitor present as a gas in the testing space during this time. Recorded by the camera, the angular distances that the top tendrils of the plants curled through were compared by a t-test. The results of the experiment confirmed the research hypothesis that there is a significant difference between thigmotropism displayed by plants with and without the ethylene inhibitor. Therefore, ethylene hormone does play an important role in the thigmotropic response of plant tendrils. The result is applicable to many edible plants with vines, such as cucumbers, grapes, tomato plants, melons and peas. The result can also imply a way of managing vines that have grown out of control and therefore presents danger in places like roads, bridges and old buildings.