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Polluted moss after 3 days of examination
The Polluting Effects of Detergents on Moss
Subject Biology, chemistry
Level Upper secondary
Language English
Type Experiement, project/team work

The main objective of this experiment is to study the polluting effect of detergents on moss. Detergents are synthetic organic compounds. Of all available household cleaning products, 80% are detergents. The raw material used to make them is of petrochemical origin. When disposed of, the detergents get into waste water and then into natural sources of water.Certain types of detergents are biodegradable, while others are not or have lower degrees of disintegration. The foamy detergents accumulate on the surface of the water, thus limitating the exchange of gases between the water and the atmosphere and causing the destruction of the aerophobic bacteria which play a major part in the decay of organic wastes. Great damage is also caused by the process of decomposition of the detergent into organic substances. The larger the amount of decaying organic substance, the lower the quality of oxygen in the water becomes. Aerophobe decomposition is replaced by anaerobic decomposition and the by-products of methane, ammonia and sulphurous hydrogen have a damaging effect on the water fauna and even on the animals living on land, as they drink polluted water. Furthermore, detergents are extremely harmful to the microbic flora of rivers and lakes. The conclusion of our experiments on moss is that detergents are responsible for the destruction of the chlorophylic pigment and depending on the concentration of the detergent used, they weaken or completely inhibit photosynthesis.  
Contact details
NameDelia-Corina Oltean
Last update: 17 July 2007

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