It’s that time of year again where the leaves are changing colors, little graveyards are popping up in neighborhoods and millions of pumpkins are going through a metamorphosis to become jack-o’-lanterns. It’s Halloween time!
There are some interesting facts and science about the pumpkin. In history, it was said that the jack-o-lantern was to fend of any evil spirits. Of course, there is no science of any kind to back up evil spirits being chased away by jack-o’-lanterns. BUT, scientists have found that pumpkins have a lot of science associated with them.
Here are some examples:
Scientists have found that pumpkins are incredibly good at taking pollution out of soil! When the scientists planted pumpkins on test areas polluted by dioxin, the large pumpkin plants pulled up the dioxin and deposited it into the plant. Leaving less of the pollutant in the soil and ultimately making the soil pollutant free!
Scientists from the American Chemical Society found that a substance in pumpkin skin fights off disease-causing microbes that try to harm and rot the pumpkin. Without that protective skin, the pumpkin would surely rot long before it was time to carve it. Later, scientists took out proteins from the pumpkin skins, and found that the proteins stopped not only infections in pumpkins but also some common human infections!
Growing the biggest pumpkin has become a popular sport among some farmers — it takes some science for the farmer to grow that monster pumpkin! They use genetics in order to grow bigger pumpkins. They do this by collecting the seeds from giant pumpkins each year and controlling how the flowers are pollinated. Winning pumpkins have weighed in at more than 2,000 pounds!
Check out the world’s heaviest pumpkin here: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/worlds-heaviest-pumpkin-tips-scales-2-096-pounds-n213846
For some fun at home pumpkin science experiments to try with your kids,
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