Effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination

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In this lab experiment, students set up to investigate the effect of acid rain on plant life by comparing the germination of radish seeds in water with varying levels of acidity. Their hypothesis was that as the pH of water decreases, the number of seeds germinated will also reduce. The dependent variable was the number of seeds germinated, while the independent variable was the pH of water. Students controlled variables such as sunlight, air in the zip bag, and the method for control. They used 100 radish seeds, 10-15 filter papers, 5 petri dishes, and 5 beakers of 100ml each, along with a dropper, to conduct the experiment. They labeled 5 Petri dishes for each pH solution, placed filter paper with 10 seeds in each, and moistened them with the pH solution. The dishes were then placed in a sealed plastic bag and kept in a dark place for 1-5 days. They then counted the number of germinated seeds and measured their root length. The class averages were tallied for each pH for germination and root length, and the data was graphed. While there was an error in the experiment, the results showed that the least growth was in 2 and 4%, and the fastest was in 0 and 8%. The highest percentage of growing seed was in 0% in day 4 with a maximum of 10%. The students concluded that acid rain had a significant effect on plant life, and more research is needed to determine the long-term effects.

Table of Content

To stimulate the effect of acid rain on plant life, students to set up a lab experiment to compare the effect of varying levels of acidity on plant seed germination.

Hypothesis: as the pH of water decreases, the number of seeds germinated will reduce.

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  • Dependent variables
  • The number of seeds germinated
  • Independent variables
  • The pH of water
  • Controlled variables


  • Possible effects on results
  • Sunlight

Amount of air in zip bag as it is one of the sources of energy for the plants, its presence will accelerate seed germination

Controlled variables:

  • Method for control
  • Sunlight

The lab’s to be conducted after the curtains are drawn and the bags to be placed in a wooden drawer in a cupboard.

The vessels to be cleaned properly before use so that the water does not get contaminated and to test the pH of water before use so that water purity can be known.

Gently press the bags before zipping them and make sure that the max amount of air is lost.


  • 100 radish seeds
  • 10-15 filter papers
  • 5 petri dishes
  • 5 beakers, 100ml each
  • 5 droppers


  1. Label 5 Petri dishes for each pH solution.
  2. Place filter paper in each the Petri dish with 10 seeds. Cover the seeds with another piece of filter paper. Use a dropper to moisten the filter paper through all layers with the 8.0 pH solution. Put the dishes in a sealed plastic bag and place them in a dark place.
  3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 for 6.0, 4.0, 2.0 & 0.0 pH Solutions.
  4. 1 – 5 days later, count the number of seeds that have germinated.
  5. Measure the root length of each of the seedlings. Record observations about seedling condition (color and overall growth and appearance of seedling leaves).
  6. Tally class averages for each pH for germination and root length. Graph your data and the class averages. Photograph seedlings.


We had only one type of seed, which is radish. We took 10 seed of Radish and every seed and inserted it in zip-lock bag and added 0 to 8% of Acid rain water in all 5 bags. Then we checked the growth of seeds everyday and took the reading.


While doing the experiment my all the data was perfect. There was error, while doing the experiment. Radish should have grown in2 and 4 % but even one seed did not grow. The acid rain water of each sample at each stage was different. There may be some external substances may have entered the sample and cause a variation in the salinity of the water of the sample. There was a more effect of acid rain water in 0% and 8% as is basic. As 0 and 8% of seeds grew faster than other three.


As we know that our experiment went wrong as there was an error in it. The least growth was in 2 and 4% and fastest was in 0 and 8%. And the highest percent of growing seed was in 0% in day 4 with maximum 10%.


  1. Anaparti, Aruna Murthy. “The Effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination and Plant Life | eHow.com.” eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More – Trusted Advice for the Curious Life | eHow.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2011. <http://www.ehow.com/about_6737132_effect-seed-germination-plant-life.html>.

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Effect of Acid Rain on Seed Germination. (2017, Nov 16). Retrieved from


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