Wilson, Amanda (School: Northwestern High School)
The purpose of the project was to determine an alternative to synthetic pesticides. It was hypothesized that Armadillidium would not survive in the presence of T. harzianum. Phase I included four experiments. In Experiment I, Armadillidium were exposed to the symbiosis between corn plants and Trichoderma harzianum. 100% of control Armadillidium survived while 72% of experimental Armadillidium survived; T. harzianum had a significant impact upon the Armadillidium (t = 2.75 > t.05 = 2.31). In Experiment II, a choice chamber was used to determine if a preference is shown for control corn plants or T. harzianum corn plants. The Armadillidium spent 66.6% of the time on the control side and 22% on the T. harzianum side. Experiment III, also in a choice chamber, used agar plates inoculated with T. harzianum. The Armadillidium spent 65% of the time on the control side and 21.2% on the Trichoderma harzianum side. In Experiment IV, Armadillidium were fed T. harzianum. 96% of the control Armadillidium survived while 0% of the experimental Armadillidium survived; T. harzianum had a highly significant impact upon the Armadillidium (t = 24 > t.01 = 3.36). In Phase II, T. harzianum cultures were exposed to various pesticides in field concentrations. Only “Patch Pro Fungicide” had a highly significant impact (t = 25 > t.01 = 3.17) upon T. harzianum. Ultimately, the hypothesis was supported. Experiments I and IV demonstrate that T. harzianum can decrease the survivorship of Armadillidium. Experiments II and III suggest that Armadillidium are deterred by T. harzianum. Phase II indicates that T. harzianum can survive in field concentrations of insecticides and herbicides. Based upon these results, T. harzianum has the potential to act as a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides.
First Award of $5,000