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Decomposition - Lab Report Example

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Decomposition is a natural process where plant and animal organic matter is broken down into small particles .it is a crucial link in food chains and food webs because they return to the soil organic compounds that enhance plant growth. Decomposition of leaves is a stepwise process, which involves.
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Download file to see previous pages Nutrient is beef broth plus yeast.

Beech (fagus): - belongs to the family fagaceae. Leaves are entirely or sparsely toothed, 5 - 15 cms long and 4- 10 cm broad. Rate of decomposition is faster due to low lignin content, which is a decay resistant.
Decay of leaves can be estimated by the change in
1. Their mass
2. Quality (which is calculated as ratio of C: N of decayed dry material.
3. Their chemical content.
4. Changes in soil or water, which act as medium.
5. Linear wave equation Wt = Wo - Kt where Wt = mass observed after specific time period, Wo = initial weight, K = decay constant.



Rate of decomposition will increase with increase in temperature and will be negligible at very high and very low temperatures.


Agar jelly and mini-petri dishes were used. The agar had no feed in it. It was only used as a
Base to keep the leaf circles in place. The leaf circles would act as food for the microbes to
Grow on.

To test different temperatures 5C, 20C, 30C and 65C were used. In each dish 10 leaf
circles were put . Each leaf circle had a diameter of 5mm. To make sure that this
experiment was safe, the lid was cello taped and wasn't opened till the experiment was over .
The leaf circles were then observed during a 4-week period. Any change in size of the leaf
Material could be measured.

Graph paper was put behind each petri dish when measuring....
an optimal temperature for microbial activity is between 35 to 45 degree C.
Agar: - it is a phycocolloid extracted from red purple marine algae, which belong to class rhodophyceae. Agar is a gel at room temperature and remains firm at as high as 65 degree C. Nutrient agar will grow the largest number of different types of microbes fungi and bacteria. Nutrient is beef broth plus yeast.
Beech (fagus): - belongs to the family fagaceae. Leaves are entirely or sparsely toothed, 5 - 15 cms long and 4- 10 cm broad. Rate of decomposition is faster due to low lignin content, which is a decay resistant.
Based on the results above it can be said that decomposition at extreme high and extreme low temperatures is zero and the decay process increases with increase in temperature as depicted in the temperature vs. mean diameter graph.
There is minimal or no microbial activity at extreme temperatures. There fore the process of decay is slow at such temperatures. Decaying process tends to be faster at warmer temperatures as it facilitates microbial growth therefore as the temperature increases the decayi9ng process also increases.
7. NUMBER OF OBSERVATIONS: Adequate numbers of observations were not made. Instead of increasing the number of dishes to 10, less number of dishes should have been used and observations made at more frequent temperatures so that optimal temperature could be calculated,
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