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Microwaved Water Kills Plants
Status: Undetermined
microwave experiment I've posted before about theories that microwaved food is bad for you, but this is slightly different. Some guy has posted pictures of his granddaughter's science fair project in which she tested the effect microwaved water would have on a plant. The result: the plant died. (Yes, the water had been cooled before she watered the plant with it.) But the plant given water that had been boiled on a stove did just fine. So what does this prove? That microwaved water is toxic? Not necessarily. The guy notes:

We have seen a number of comments on this, such as what was the water in the microwave boiled in. The thinking is that maybe some leaching took place if it was in plastic. It was boiled in a plastic cup, so this could be a possibility. Also it was not a double blind experiment, so she knew which was which when watering them. On top of that she was wanting the microwaved ones to do poorly, and although most scientists would dismiss the idea, it is possible that her thoughts toward each plant had an effect as well. Bottom line is, the results are interesting, and duplicate the results that others have reported (try Googling '"microwaved water" plants') more experiments need to be done with better controls and as a double blind study. But this was a simple 6th grade science fair project, and was never intended to be anything more than that. The plants were genetically identical, they were produced from graphs from the same parent plant, so that variable can be eliminated.

Intriguingly, the Straight Dope (a source I usually trust) has written an article about the controversy over microwave cooking, and he notes that scientists actually do not fully understand the chemical changes that take place when food is microwaved, and so there may indeed be some kind of "microwave effect." He notes a 1992 Stanford study that found microwaving breast milk mysteriously reduces its infection-fighting properties, as well as studies that have found that microwaves can accelerate certain chemical reactions. He writes: "'One suggestion,' a bunch of chemists wrote recently, 'is that this is some form of 'ponderomotive' driving force that arises when high frequency electric fields modulate ionic currents near interfaces with abrupt differences in ion mobility.'" He doesn't attempt to explain this theory.

I would repeat the girl's experiment myself, but everything I try to grow mysteriously dies, so there wouldn't be much point. (via The Greener Side)
Categories: FoodScience
Posted by The Curator on Fri Apr 21, 2006
If anyone wants to verify if the water will kill plants, just start watering one of your plants with microwaved and cooled water. Don't dismiss the results without doing your own testing.
Posted by Dave  in  Arizona  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  06:06 PM
pattyf77 said, "Why are we so quick to denounce efforts to reveal the truth when those truths may affect capitalistic enterprise or our modern conveniences?"

The key point is the experiment above is a fraud. Follow this link for why I say this:

You can't tell the truth through a lie. Just because Dr. Mercola is popular doesn't mean he is correct. Here's another view of him:

or simply Goggle his name along with the word quack and you get a lot of interesting reading. If you fear microwaved food, by all means avoid it. But don't defend obviously fraudulent web evidence. Stick to the science journals and trusted sources.
Posted by Mark  on  Wed Oct 17, 2007  at  11:27 PM
i am doing this for my science fair.... i will keep in touch w/ photos + info from my project, this will be decent info.
Posted by William  in  Why do you care?  on  Thu Nov 01, 2007  at  09:54 PM
i think ur all wrong yo
Posted by jesz  in  longbeach  on  Mon Nov 19, 2007  at  04:52 PM
You stupid crackers ....microwave water is good for plants it makes my apple trees produce oranges....fuck ya
Posted by Pompousass  in  Da Hood  on  Tue Jan 08, 2008  at  12:23 PM
leave the litle gril be..people keep giving me a hard time and that's why i got knocked up...let her be..or she'll get stressed and do the same thing...BE NICE


i love my sis brit..and my lil nephews...foget k fed
Posted by Zoey 101  in  Pregoville  on  Tue Jan 08, 2008  at  12:25 PM
I have actually done an experiment on that and when we fed plants microwaved water there was no difference between that and the control group

here is the text of my abstract

We did an experiment on microwaving water. We wanted to see whether the rumor was true that microwaving water killed plants. We had looked online and supposedly some girl had done an experiment where she microwaved water and fed it to one plant and then fed another plant tap water. She said the one that got microwaved water died. We checked many other places and we also found that a Swedish scientist named Dr. Hans Hertell had conducted a similar experiment. He and some of his colleagues had eaten nothing but microwaved food for a week. After the experiment, they had increased cholesterol and decrease hemoglobin levels and they also had a lower white blood cell percentage. When we tried to find more experiments with plants we could not find anything but the one source. So we decided to do an experiment with more complicated variables to see if it really was the microwaved water that killed the plant.
For our experiment we fed 8 different solutions to 32 different pole bean plants. Our solutions were microwaved, boiled, distilled, and tap water all either with or without fertilizer. Each day we fed the plants a set amount of their solutions usually from 3 to 5 tablespoons on each solution. Then we measured the plants. We only put in fertilizer once a week. We user skewers to hold the plants up and we tried to measure them several times.
Our experiment is done and we have found that the microwaved water has not killed the plants. The microwaved plants were actually doing quite fine and some are taller than the boiled and distilled too.
Posted by scientist  on  Thu Mar 27, 2008  at  09:39 AM
pattyf77: Stop your jibber-jabber. I pity the fool who believes in psuedoscience....
Posted by Mr. T  on  Wed Apr 09, 2008  at  01:38 PM
My daughter decided to do a similar experiment so I decided to run my own in parallel (because I could let things grow longer than she could due to her school assignment deadline). Here are the photos I took along the way.

Yes, it's a tiny sample set. Yes, lots of things could account for the differences. I don't claim anything other than "here's another datapoint".

The water used for both plants came from the bottled water we have delivered to our house. We boiled one batch on the stove in a pot and the other in a pyrex container in the microwave. The water boiled for 10 minutes in each case. It was then stored in plastic Dasani water containers which had been washed out with soap, rinsed thoroughly, and allowed to dry. After that, we simply watered the plants every day making a small effort to put the same amount of water into each pot.

Here's the link to the images:
Posted by Mike  in  Vancouver  on  Wed Apr 16, 2008  at  01:35 AM
In another experiment, anthroposophist A. Bohmert, reported that water samples were heated, some in a microwave oven and others conventionally, and then left to cool before use. These water samples were used to bring grain to germination. The grain in contact with microwaved water was the only one that did not germinate.
Posted by Cancer-causing chemicals in cooked meats  in  finland  on  Wed Dec 03, 2008  at  11:39 PM
well i am doin a sci project about watering plants with tap and microwaved water to see what is good or bad for the plants so i htink that microwaved water is so bad because what people say about using microwaved so ya smile raspberry
Posted by Gerrinan  in  somewhere in the us  on  Fri Jan 30, 2009  at  03:32 PM
what a fucking ass is this these bitchis are gone mad fuckerrrrrrrsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
Posted by samantha  in  america  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  06:36 PM
My son and I just performed this experiment double blind. This is disproved. All plants are fine. Snopes also debunked this some time back. (Wish I had found that before we did this as an experiment for school.)
Posted by Big Daddy  in  Texas, Baby  on  Sat Mar 21, 2009  at  06:22 PM
You might be interested in an experiment I am presently conducting with tomato seeds:
Posted by Robert Harwood  in  Kitchener, Ontario, Canada  on  Sun Mar 22, 2009  at  02:11 PM
hello hello smile raspberry
Posted by GG  in  somewhere in the us  on  Mon Mar 23, 2009  at  04:27 PM
I microwaved my Congressman and he started to spend money uncontrollably. Do you think this is related to the microwaving, or to the fact that he's an out-of-touch millionaire with many sleazy ties to special interest groups?
Posted by Joey  in  Alabamy  on  Sun Mar 29, 2009  at  11:54 AM
big surprise I think it's VERY good
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Apr 01, 2009  at  05:21 AM
Microwaved water may not be harmful but it is dfinitely not the same as unmicrowaved water. Microwaved food has been PROVEN to be different and harful to human consumption in many rigourous scientific trials. Microwaved water may be benign it may be healthier and it may also be harmful. SWhy not seriously examine this instead of taking it personally and dismissing it? People are too insecure to look at their lifestyles and objectively analyze anything.
Posted by victor  in  T&T  on  Wed Oct 21, 2009  at  12:19 AM
That "experiment" is a hoax. There are several websites that expose it for what it is - bunk. You can find links to these sites on post below. That plant was trimmed to death within minutes. If you superimpose the photos over one another you'll see the experiment plant does not change position, yet plants move all the time.

For the person claiming "Microwaved food has been PROVEN to be different and harful [sic] to human consumption...," please list the studies. I know of no reputable study that confirms this statement. I'm not saying it isn't possible, I saying show me the evidence.
Posted by Mark  on  Fri Oct 30, 2009  at  01:02 PM
After seeing this I tried it myself.
I didn't boil the water (why would you??) just heated it. I also heated 'control' water on a stove to the same temp (75C) cooled it then germinated and grew wheatgrass. Each day with freshly microwaved and heated water.
One batch with untreated water.
One batch with water that was re-microwaved daily to make sure I "killed" it!

The result: growth rate, size, appearance and taste....all the same!
Posted by Ron  on  Thu Feb 25, 2010  at  02:22 PM
The type of container is not relevant to plant death, because I took the ph of pure water, then I microwaved the water in a glass container, let it cool and then the ph test was extremely acidic. It only boiled for a few seconds. This indicates a loss of molecules, now if I can just find out how and why.
Posted by Russ  in  Florida  on  Fri Mar 05, 2010  at  08:42 AM
I am doing the same experiment, and it seems that the plants that have been given the microwaved water seem to be growing faster then the other, the wayh i see it is that any bacteria or chemicals in the water are being killed by the microwave. It could be, like said above, that the plastic was being put into the plants nutrients. So i think that it is better to microwave the water before giving it to the plant, but in a glass or ceramic cup, not a plastic one.
Posted by Jonathon  in  Tecumseh, Canada  on  Thu Mar 11, 2010  at  01:46 PM
You have to also remember not all glass is the same.

There can certainly be undesirable elements in glass, especially if cheaply made (For instance in China).

It could be that you have discovered that even glass can leach materials.

Very interesting.

Check out the wiki on glass:
Posted by Sam  in  MA  on  Wed Apr 21, 2010  at  06:40 PM
i just did that experiment for science and my results were different!!!!! The microwaved water made NO difference! And come on, it is EXTREMELY hard to get 'scientific' results when you are inexperienced and young, so i wouldn't take any kids experiments as actual fact.
Posted by rach  in  australia  on  Wed May 05, 2010  at  05:13 PM
We are at the moment busy with science projects. I asked a child and his family to take 4 containers each with four beans in them. They were marked clearly. Each container was than watered with a different type of water.I never gave them any information, all I asked them to take photos. I just came back from their home. It was very clear that the plant that only got the cooled microwave water was very clearly smaller (much smaller) than any of the other plants.
Posted by Ranch  in  South Africa  on  Tue May 25, 2010  at  12:14 PM
I've got this type fo email yesterday.
I found this article but don't understand.

The effect of heat and microwave denaturation of small volumes of double-stranded plasmid DNA has been compared. Samples of intact plasmid DNA and plasmid DNA linearized by digestion with EcoRI were conventionally denatured in a boiling water bath or denatured by 2450 MHz of microwave energy for 0
Posted by Sam  in  Thailand  on  Tue Aug 10, 2010  at  10:51 PM
Why is it that our universities haven't already studied this and put the issue to rest?

Could it be that there isn't a corporate sponsor paying for such research?

Me thinks our universities only research what big business wants them to. Then again, why wouldn't GE or another microwave oven manufacturer simply put the issue to rest's not like this is an expensive study.

From what I've read, immature plants watered with micro-waved water tend to die.
Posted by Mace  on  Wed Sep 29, 2010  at  07:01 PM
Sam: That article basically looks at breaking down (denaturing) different structures of DNA in a microwave VS conventional heating. Nothing health related, and being near your microwave shouldn't cook your cells.

I wouldn't trust that Dr.Mercola guy much. All his "health claim publications" are letters in response to someone elses publication and therefore not peer reviewed and at best are his own intepretations of someone elses work. Still fair play to him, he's abusing the ignorance of many and probably getting rich from it, while ironically talking about "bad science" and "bias".
Posted by JAng  in  UK  on  Mon Oct 25, 2010  at  07:28 AM
So that others may gain some intuition regarding this topic, I am going to do my best to keep the explanation simple. Having expressed that, please bear in mind that I am merely a student, thus I am not an expert in physical chemistry; however, I will do my best to provide intuitive insight.

Heat is kinetic energy; temperature is simply the average kinetic energy of a system and its surroundings. In liquid water, molecules are constantly moving about their occupied space. The more kinetic energy that exists in the system, the faster the molecules move and the more freely their energies are distributed (entropy).

In addition to moving about within their occupied space, the molecules themselves experience movement in the forms of rotation, vibration, and translation. Unfortunately, I have no way of illustrating these movements via text, so I highly encourage you, the reader, to conduct some research into the matter.

Anyways, microwaves emit infrared waves, which are not very energetic; however, these waves happen to coincide perfectly with the rotation of water molecules, thus the substance is capable of absorbing huge amounts of energy via microwaves.

Moreover, the energy that is applies to water does nothing to change its chemical properties. When energy is no longer applied to the system, the water will return to thermoequilibrium. In essence, the water never changed; it just possessed more kinetic energy.

While certain forms of radiation will denature complex molecules such as DNA, it does not chemically affect water in any way.

Aside from taking courses in chemistry and botany, the best I can recommend people do is perform the experiment themselves. Doing so will only take a few weeks, provided one follows reasonable procedures.
Posted by RefutingStupidity  in  Oklahoma City, OK  on  Mon Nov 08, 2010  at  08:48 PM
Wow people, WOW. I just got an email from my brother wondering if this whole microwaved water and plant dying thing was legit. Seriously? Some little kid does an experiment and everyone freaks out at a few pictures. You are just believing it because you are scared of it and already think there is something wrong with microwaves. I'm in biology, and the number of experiments that have weird results because something got done slightly differently is incredible. Also, it needs to be done masses of times to have any significance at all. So please, relax.
Posted by Sarah  in  Canada  on  Mon Nov 15, 2010  at  05:57 PM
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