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ERIC Number: EJ820864
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Oct
Pages: 2
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 7
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
A Qualitative Experiment to Analyze Microbial Activity in Topsoil Using Paper and a Handmade Reflection Photometer
Agbeko, Julius Kofi; Kita, Masakazu
Journal of Chemical Education, v84 n10 p1689-1690 Oct 2007
This article describes a novel, hands-on method to qualitatively determine the extent of microbial activity in topsoil using ordinary blank paper. Appropriate and scalable for the high school and college level, these experiments expose students to some of the challenges facing environmental researchers and also contribute to curriculum development of soil topics for environmental education. Through experimentation, students discover that paper containing high amounts of starch can be used to determine the degree of microbial activity in topsoil. After the application of soil solution eluent to paper, the paper is allowed to dry. Students react the paper with a KI + I[subscript 2] solution, and a deep blue coloration results that diminishes over time. Using the principles of complementary color combinations and a simple, handmade, cadmium sulfide-light emitting diode (CdS-LED) reflection photometer, the color can be measured and the extent of microbial activity established. (Contains 2 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: Students; Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A