Kim Karotki

Suc­cess­ful ent­ry for “Jugend forscht” sci­ence contest

First and third place in the regio­nal rounds

The pupils of Maria­num high school who took part in the “Jugend forscht” com­pe­ti­ti­on which aims to pro­mo­te young sci­en­tists can give them­sel­ves a pat on the back: four of them con­duc­ted expe­ri­ments in Klasmann-Deilmann’s lab and green­house to pre­pa­re for the regio­nal round of the con­test. And in fact they scored well: Sebas­ti­an Berent­zen and Chris­toph Tha­le achie­ved third place while Alex­an­der Base­ni­us and Timo Väh­ning even came in first, qua­li­fy­ing them for the next level, the sta­te-wide round which will be held in Clausthal-Zellerfeld.

The four pupils have been busy working on their pro­jects at Klasmann-Deilmann in Gees­te sin­ce Sep­tem­ber 2016. Alex­an­der Base­ni­us and Timo Väh­ning exami­ned the effect of effec­ti­ve micro­or­ga­nisms (EM) on plant growth, while Sebas­ti­an Berent­zen and Chris­toph Tha­le loo­ked at the impact of aero­sols. The youngs­ters con­duc­ted exten­si­ve test seri­es from which they dedu­ced their results, which they pre­sen­ted at the regio­nal round of “Jugend forscht” in Lingen.

Their efforts have paid off. The aero­sol pro­ject ear­ned Sebas­ti­an Berent­zen and Chris­toph Tha­le third place in the che­mi­stry cate­go­ry. It was the death of stone pine trees in Ita­ly that trig­ge­red their rese­arch. Sci­en­tists assu­me that toxic indus­tri­al was­te enters the River Arno from whe­re it flows into the sea and sub­se­quent­ly dama­ges the trees when it is car­ri­ed back as wind-bor­ne aero­sols from the sea. The two stu­dents from Maria­num high school in Mep­pen wan­ted to simu­la­te the situa­ti­on as rea­listi­cal­ly as pos­si­ble as a basis for crea­ting their own hypo­the­sis. In our green­house they spray­ed their test plants – Chi­ne­se lea­ves and let­tuce – with a liquid which con­tai­ned amongst other things buta­ne­di­ol and pro­py­le­ne glycol.

Alex­an­der Base­ni­us and Timo Väh­ning have qua­li­fied for the next round. Their ana­ly­sis of effec­ti­ve micro­or­ga­nisms as a “mira­cle cure” won first place in the bio­lo­gy sec­tor, qua­li­fy­ing them for the sta­te-wide round which will take place at Claus­thal Uni­ver­si­ty of Tech­no­lo­gy in Claus­thal-Zel­ler­feld. The two youngs­ters con­duc­ted expe­ri­ments on basil and pep­pers to see whe­ther EM actual­ly lives up to the claims pro­mi­sed by the makers of this “mira­cle worker”. Not real­ly, was their con­clu­si­on: growth, root and fruit for­ma­ti­on in the plants trea­ted with EM hard­ly dif­fe­red at all from the refe­rence plants without EM. The addi­ti­on of effec­ti­ve micro­or­ga­nisms even had a nega­ti­ve effect on fruit formation.

Even befo­re the suc­cess­ful par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in this year’s regio­nal com­pe­ti­ti­on, Klasmann-Deilmann and Maria­num high school had alrea­dy deci­ded that the­se joint pro­jects offer bene­fits for both sides, which is why we shall be inten­si­fy­ing our coope­ra­ti­on in future. We will not only sup­port the school with the pro­mo­ti­on of talen­ted pupils in the form of pro­jects such as the “Jugend forscht” con­test. We also plan to offer work expe­ri­ence pla­ces as part of the school’s care­ers gui­d­ance acti­vi­ties and to enab­le pro­jects with a prac­ti­cal focus in our labo­ra­to­ry and green­house for pupils in pro­fi­ci­en­cy cour­ses and stu­dy groups.