Category EAEV L16 The Effect of SAP's on Soil Moisture and Plant Height -Solving

The Drought Cri

Abstract In my project, I wanted to demonstrate and develop a viable solution to

the drought crisis of countries around the world. I discovered that super

absorbent polymers, or SAP's, are substances that have the ability to

absorb water up to 300 times their own weight. They have been used

for many years in household products like diapers and cleaning

supplies. However, more recently, SAP's are being used in the

agricultural industry as a method to create an "underwater reservoir"

for their crops. However, commercial SAP's are not a viable solution to

the drought-infested countries that could benefit from them the most.

Commercial SAP's are very expensive and have harmful effects on the

external environment and the soil. Therefore, I developed an alternative

SAP that is organic, low-cost, eco-friendly, and best of all, made from

waste products. Once I discovered that one of the main components in

orange peels are polysaccharides, I developed three organic SAP's

made from avocado skins and orange peels that can even outperform

commercial SAP's. Orange peels contain 60% polysaccharides and

when combined with oil from avocado skins, they can produce a strong

cross-linked SAP. Each SAP was made through a different series of

steps and they each had different effects on the plants. To test their

effectiveness against commercial SAP's, I tested their effect on the soil

moisture and plant height on the ocimum sanctum plant. I poured 100ml

of water on the first day and no additional watering was done for 10

days. The five groups that were tested are as follows: orange peel

Solution, orange/avocado Mixture, Orange/avocado Powder, control

group (no SAP), and the acrylic SAP (commercial SAP). The Plant

Height was recorded using a ruler and Soil Moisture was recorded

using a moisture meter once every 24 hours for each group. The

orange peel/avocado skin mixture that I made outperformed the

commercial acrylic SAP in both the plant height and the soil moisture

level by the 10th and final day of the testing period and showed that a

cost-effective and viable solution could be developed. I have conducted

extensive research on this topic and have a deep comprehension of

the processes involved with the formation and utilization of SAP's.

Scientists have been researching the question of how to develop

organic SAP's for many years and have even undergone testing with

alternative SAP's produced from corn and this project further attests to

these ongoing scientific studies. My project was awarded the grand

prize at my DCMST school science fair and I look forward to sharing it

at this regional fair. The organic SAP's I produced are an advancement

towards developing a solution to the critical drought crisis around the

world. It is most remarkable that a product we would consider to be

waste, that we wouldn't even take a second look at before tossing into

the garbage, can actually be used to solve one of the biggest and most

crucial humanitarian crises that is facing our world today.


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