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The Effect of Growth Hormones on Irradiated Lima Beans

Our objective was to determine what effect growth hormone supplementation had on
irradiated lima beans.


Forty-eight lima beans were irradiated with high-energy X-rays at Providence St.
Joseph's hospital. Sixteen beans were irradiated at 10,000 rads, sixteen beans
at 30,000 rads, and sixteen beans at 60,000 rads. In addition, sixteen beans
were not irradiated and served as controls.
Following irradiation, the lima beans were placed in a hydroponic germination
station, where they were exposed to artificial light 16 hours of every 24-hour
period, for nine consecutive days. Half of the beans were given growth hormone
supplementation (Hormex Growth Hormone) and half were hydrated with clean water
only. After nine
days, the plants were uprooted and the stem and root lengths were measured.


Lima bean growth was severely stunted at radiation levels of 30,000 and 60,000
rads, since the beans that
were irradiated at these levels germinated and then stopped growing altogether.
When we compared the
data taken from the plants supplemented with growth hormone, the hormone-treated
plants generally had
longer roots, yet shorted stems. Strangely, at 60,000 rads, there were a few
centimeters of stem growth on
most plants, yet no visible root growth.


Although the growth hormone did not repair stem length damage in the irradiated
plants, it did slightly
increase root length. The increase of root length in Hormex-watered plants
suggests that the growth
hormone may be able to make up for the damage inflicted by the radiation. When
we began, we had little
knowledge of radiation and how it works. This study helped us to learn about
radiation and its impact on
plant growth. We will continue our studies of Hormex's potentially beneficial
effects on radiation damage
over the summer using considerably larger control and variable groups to achieve
more valid results.