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Investigating Fertilisers: the Effects of Minerals on Plant Growth

In this practical, students investigate the effects of different levels of minerals (nitrates, phosphates and potassium) on the growth of radishes. Students sow radish seed in ‘soil’ containing different levels of 3 minerals - nitrates, phosphates and potassium. These minerals are present inside N:P:K fertiliser pellets which slowly release their contents to the surrounding soil.

The experiment is inexpensive and generates quantitative results, suitable for analysis. However, it does require a light bank and the radish seed take 2-3 weeks to grow to a suitable size followed by 2-3 days to dry to a constant dry mass.

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