We have to do a research project for my college Bio 1 class and I would really like to do something dealing with phytoremediation but I'm having some difficulty. Since I have not been able to find a description of the materials and procedure for such a project on the internet I'm trying to figure it out on my own but obviously with my lack of experience there are many things I am unsure of. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Okay, so what I want to test is the rate of accumulation of a contaminant from the soil into a specific plant. For the contaminant I'm thinking of using either lead or copper. For the plant I'm thinking sunflowers, indian mustard, or water hyacinths (though these would be grown in water instead of soil). All I really know is that I'm going to have to mix the soil with the contaminant, put it in pots, grow the plants in them until they're big enough to take samples from, then begin collecting samples every 7 days or so to be dried and tested for contaminant content.
So here come the questions;
How much contaminant should I mix into the soil? I figure something around the amount you would find in naturally contaminated soil but I can't find any numbers on this.
Which plant should I use? Which can I grow faster and healthier in a tropical climate (I live in Miami, Florida)? I imagine any of these will grow here but I don't know anything about gardening and I don't want the entire experiment to fail because the plants die or don't grow fast enough. I have until the end of November to complete this project, by the way.
And finally, how do I analyze the samples? I'm sure it's a fairly complicated procedure, and a detailed description isn't neccessary, but is it the kind of thing that's possible to do with the resources available in an average university laboratory? And if not, is there like a lab or something that could do it for me?