Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Proposed Alternative Research Question: The Cannon Fungus: Grow a Fungus That Fires Objects at Light Sources (by Rachit)

The Cannon Fungus: Factors Affecting the Growth of the Fungus That Fires Objects at Light Sources

Introduction: The Pilobolus fungus has an interesting way of making sure the next generation has a good start on life. At high speed, the fungus shoots a sac that contains spores toward a light source. Why toward a light source? Because that is where it is most likely to find an open area with grass. Once the spore is placed on grass, it is eaten by a cow or a horse, which is a critical step in its life cycle. The spore passes through the animal's digestive track and ends up in a pile of manure. For a fungal spore, this is the perfect place to be, since it is warm and full of nutrients. The spore then grows to become a mature fungus, eventually making a new "spore cannon," and the cycle begins anew. In this biology science fair project, you will grow a Pilobolus culture (though not in manure) and test how its "spore cannon" responds to various light conditions.

Feasibility: To find out where the spore cannon works best is a good idea to find out where certain kinds of fungi grow in different lights. This will give a good gauge on how the reaction of fungi is. And we can also find out the optimum amount of light for fungi to grow. It will also be easy to find out the other optimum conditions in which this fungus will be shoot the object at light sources. 

Accessibility: There will be a need to order a Pilobolus culture kit online. This might take a while and we will need the teachers' help to place the order. Furthermore, there is a restriction of not sending the kit to places which are near the residential areas. 

Manageability: This project should be easily managed. Firstly, there are not any major safety issues involved in the project. Even though there are not many safety risks to us, there might be dangers to the environment and the introduction of new organism might be a little difficult. We must also be able to find a way to remove the fungus after the duration of the project. The method must not pose a danger to us. 

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