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This science fair project was done to observe the effect of using activated carbon to neutralize the effect of pesticides. The science project experiment involved using flies, the pesticide malathion and different concentrations of activated carbon.


A higher concentration of activated carbon will neutralize the pesticide malathion and flies will be able to survive, even though they are exposed to the pesticide.

Scientific Terms

Activated carbon, porous, malathion, pesticides


Activated carbon

Activated carbon is an extremely porous carbon that has a very large surface area. A single gram of activated carbon has over 500 square millimeters of surface area. The large surface area is made available for the carbon to absorb and react with other chemicals. Activated carbon is also known as activated charcoal. It is usually made from charcoal. Activated carbon is very useful in the removal of pollutants from water and air. They are used in air purification, water filtration, cleaning spills and remediation of ground water. Activated carbon is also used in the treatment of poisoning and overdose from oral medication.

Malathion pesticide

Malathion is a common agricultural pesticide. It is used in farms, recreational areas, residential landscape and public parks. Malathion is found to be useful in pest control applications and is used to eradicate flies and mosquitoes. Malathion is normally mixed with diesel fuel and used to fog areas that are known to be infested with mosquitoes and other pests. Malathion is also used in low doses for treating body and head lice.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for the science project experiment
Material availability:
You will need to trap 40 houseflies for this experiment.
Safety concerns:

Ensure that safety masks, goggles and gloves are worn at all times when handling the Malathion and the flies. Malathion is extremely toxic and should be handled properly, in a controlled laboratory under the supervision of your science teacher.