Rate Of Decomposition Research

Decent Essays
Nursalmi Faris & Sasha Andrade Group 14
(2) Background Research
As this society is getting to be unhealthier, many people want to veer away from non-organic foods. Because of this, there are people who have organic farms or gardens. For the process to be natural, people use compost for their plants, but it can take up to 3-12 months for compost to fully decompose. The topic is decomposition rate. The IV would be the pH level in the compost. The DV would be the rate of decomposition. The constant is the compost without anything added. The controls are the environment, compost materials, scientists doing the experiment, way of measuring,
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Decomposition is the state or process of rotting away. PH determines whether a chemical is an acid or a base depending on the number from 0-14. The solutions being used will be vinegar and baking soda. The hypothesis is that if vinegar and baking soda are added separately to different containers of compost then the one with baking soda will decompose faster. This is because acids can be used to stop metals from rusting, therefore stopping the deterioration of metal. If this is so, then the same might be said for decomposition. To test this, the main ingredients of compost will be gathered. Those ingredients are banana peels, lawn clippings, pine needles, vegetable and fruit peelings, and shredded leaves to be put into six separate containers with the same amount in each. Two containers would have layers of baking soda added, another two would have layers of vinegar, and the last two would be unchanged. The containers would be left outside. Every week a picture and measurements would be taken of each. After three months, the results will determine the answer to the hypothesis. There is no history of this experiment being done, but other experiments have been done involving decomposition rate like how long it takes for different materials to decompose and testing different materials in compost. It is good to use materials that contain a lot of nitrogen and carbon rich materials. Most plants and micro-organisms operate best in a pH median between 6 and 7. Average garden soils range from 5 to 7 (Urban Garden Center, 2014). Vinegar has a pH level of 3, and baking soda has a pH level of 9. “A low pH indicates an acidic soil, and this can have a major impact on the decomposition of organic matter. Bacteria -- the organisms most responsible for breaking down organic matter -- experience a sharp drop-off in activity once the pH drops below 6.0.” (Dawn Walls-Thumma).
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