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)

Food Science

Posted on Fri Apr 21, 2006


Sorry I acedentaly pressed enter. But my results are: Bolied water-25in.with 3 flowers, microwave water-26in. with 4 flowers, tap water-20in.with 1 flower, and bottled water-17in. with no flowers. I would love to know what type of plant ur granddaughter used for my project.
Posted by Jaci Jowdy  on  Sat Jan 27, 2007  at  07:58 AM
Posted by bulldog101  on  Tue Feb 06, 2007  at  04:20 PM
I am going 2 try this for my science project right now. THis is where I am gettin my information. Very Intresting!!
Posted by Bulldog102  on  Tue Feb 06, 2007  at  04:22 PM
I did my own experiment with flower seeds with plain tap water, boiled water, and microwaved water. All seeds germinated (although I was hoping the microwaved ones wouldn't). Water is water is water. It has been down through eons of time and will continue to be water. This little girl's experiment was absolutely bogus. We've got enought hoaxes going on today. We don't need someone to pull this kind of stunt.
Posted by Pat  on  Tue Feb 06, 2007  at  06:08 PM
im doing mt own project.
Posted by aaron  on  Sat Feb 10, 2007  at  09:04 PM
My son's science fair project was rooting 1 slip of a ficus plant in room temperature microwaved water and 1 slip of ficus plant in tap water from our well. After 30 days of observation, the plant in tap water from our well has sprouted roots. The plant slip in microwaved water has not formed roots at all. Both plants were placed in the same window each in identical glass containers. The microwaved water was boiled in a glass container and then cooled to room temperature.
Posted by Hal Hoov  on  Mon Mar 26, 2007  at  08:21 PM
Although I appalled your son
Posted by Jared Graham  on  Mon Mar 26, 2007  at  11:06 PM
When I started UNI, I had limited space so I cooked all my food in a microwave. 6 months later I was diagnosed with an autoimmunity. I didn't take any drugs ro meds and during that time I didn't stress. I have reason to believe that the increase in autoimmune diseases (maybe cancer as well) we see is due to the fact that more and more food companies switch to easy microwaveable food.
Posted by Philip Oosthuizen  on  Tue Apr 24, 2007  at  09:38 AM
Our brains tend to want to connect all the dots, so to speak, and sometimes see correlations where there are no real correlations. Our cavalier attitude toward polluting our environment has lead to an increase in health problems globally. The only way to be sure if your microwave oven caused the problem is have someone conduct a study, and even this is difficult because of the vast amount of variables involved. The bottom line is: How do we know which variable (or combination of variables) caused the problem? The cause of most autoimmune diseases is unknown - but they have plagued us long before microwaved ovens came on the scene.
Posted by Jared Graham  on  Sat May 05, 2007  at  02:31 PM
why does this happen to the plant being watered by microwaved water?
Posted by denni  on  Mon May 14, 2007  at  10:03 PM
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  on  Tue Oct 16, 2007  at  04:06 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  09:27 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  on  Thu Nov 01, 2007  at  07:54 PM
i think ur all wrong yo
Posted by jesz  on  Mon Nov 19, 2007  at  02:52 PM
You stupid crackers ....microwave water is good for plants it makes my apple trees produce oranges....fuck ya
Posted by Pompousass  on  Tue Jan 08, 2008  at  10:23 AM
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  on  Tue Jan 08, 2008  at  10:25 AM
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  07:39 AM
pattyf77: Stop your jibber-jabber. I pity the fool who believes in psuedoscience....
Posted by Mr. T  on  Wed Apr 09, 2008  at  11:38 AM
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  on  Tue Apr 15, 2008  at  11:35 PM
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  on  Wed Dec 03, 2008  at  09:39 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 😊 😛
Posted by Gerrinan  on  Fri Jan 30, 2009  at  01:32 PM
what a fucking ass is this these bitchis are gone mad fuckerrrrrrrsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
Posted by samantha  on  Thu Feb 12, 2009  at  04:36 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  on  Sat Mar 21, 2009  at  04:22 PM
You might be interested in an experiment I am presently conducting with tomato seeds:
Posted by Robert Harwood  on  Sun Mar 22, 2009  at  12:11 PM
hello hello 😊 😛
Posted by GG  on  Mon Mar 23, 2009  at  02:27 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  on  Sun Mar 29, 2009  at  09:54 AM
🐛 I think it's VERY good
Posted by Archangel  on  Wed Apr 01, 2009  at  03:21 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  on  Tue Oct 20, 2009  at  10:19 PM
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  11:02 AM
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  12:22 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  on  Fri Mar 05, 2010  at  06:42 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  on  Thu Mar 11, 2010  at  11:46 AM
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  on  Wed Apr 21, 2010  at  04:40 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  on  Wed May 05, 2010  at  03:13 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  on  Tue May 25, 2010  at  10:14 AM
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  on  Tue Aug 10, 2010  at  08:51 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 themselves...it'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  05:01 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  on  Mon Oct 25, 2010  at  05:28 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  on  Mon Nov 08, 2010  at  06:48 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  on  Mon Nov 15, 2010  at  03:57 PM
Does it depend on the type of plant?
Posted by V-Person  on  Sun Nov 28, 2010  at  05:12 PM
I'm more confused than ever from Mercola's position. I heat only water--for tea--in the microwave, and have assumed it's safer than heating it in a metal kettle on the stove. All stainless steel comes from China. Is it safe to assume they haven't added alloys to their steel and thereby have contaminated it? If you leave hot water in the kettle as you slowly use it for your tea, I would think there would be the danger of stuff leeching into the water. Anyone with any thoughts on this?
Posted by Babs DAngelo  on  Wed Dec 08, 2010  at  06:26 PM
I'm no expert (definitely not an "Anthroposophist," whatever that is), but isn't water made of 2 Hydrogen atoms bonded to 1 Oxygen atom? And, I'm not sure, but I thought that a microwave oven just sends radio waves. That is, it sends rapid pulses of energy that are absorbed by water (and also by fats and sugars in the case of food). This only has the effect of exciting the water molecules, making them move around faster and heat up. So, aside from heating up, how does this cause the water to be essentially changed somehow so that it loses its efficacy for nourishing plants? I can logically understand explanations that microwaves might damage the cell structure of foods that are heated, and I suppose this could make them less nutritious than food cooked conventionally, but purified WATER? I must be overlooking something.
Posted by Keith  on  Wed Jan 12, 2011  at  08:08 PM
What has not been pointed out here is that microwaves (which have nothing to do with infrared)
because of the way they work literally blow apart bacteria within fractions of a second killing them instantaneously this means you are more than very un lightly to get any sort of food poisoning from something cooked in a microwave oven than conventionally. I have been using them for over 30 years & found this to be the case so far...
I am also an electronics design Eng so fully understand their workings( also having repaired industrial ones ). microwave ovens have safety devices built in which prevent any exposure to microwaves. out of the millions sold how many documented law suits have you read about where manufactures paid out compensation? I have never seen any ever!
Posted by ron  on  Sat Feb 26, 2011  at  11:19 AM
Technically speaking there isn't anything in water that can make it toxic. There should only be h2o. It is impossible that the microwave is actually adding any chemicals to the water itself (i.e. the microwaves are not toxic chemicals but waves of energy). The only place any toxicity could have come from is the containers.

Also the plant itself could have been unhealthy or the soils could have been different with one plant getting more nutrients than the other.
Posted by Oven Cleaning Chessington  on  Wed Mar 02, 2011  at  08:29 PM
Speaking of L. Ron Hubbard, I read he was involved with Allister Crowley, and Great Britain's MI-5 durring the war. hummm? They together were involved with PSYCHOTRONIC-WEAPONRY. AND the Russinas used Psychotronic weapons to sink the Nuclear Submarine SSN 593 Thresher! I wouldn't trust Ron, OR his "so-called-religion" as far as I can throw them! He was a SATANIST
Posted by D.E.GOODMAN  on  Fri Mar 04, 2011  at  04:09 PM
I would suggest 4 participants:
1. Plant handler
2. Intermediary
3. Water handler
4. Independent Trustee

The plant handler plants an even number of plants in a tray. Trays might favor some regions (light, heat, etc.) so the distribution of A and B seeds within the tray should be set up as a checker board. Markings must be minimal (if the A's are in white containers and the B's are in black ones, the experiment is bad in several ways). Identical labels, toothpicks, placement and depth, pen ink, etc. must be used.

1. Intermediary makes all the "A" and "B" labels that both the water and plant handlers will need.

2. Working alone, seeds are planted. The plant handler tries for uniformity but is assumed to fail ("he got better, or more bored, as he went along", etc).

3. Working alone, the intermediary uses dice to randomly transfer containers into a the final tray. Last, he then flips a coin to label the plants with a checker board patter with "A" vs. "B" in the top left corner.

4. Working alone, the water handler flips a coin for "A" vs. "B" to be the microwaved sample. He writes this down in two copies with trustee present. One for his wallet to use, one for the trustee.

5. Each day, working alone, the water handler boils the "A" and "B" water as per the initial coin toss. This is done in identical pyrex glassware for both the microwave and burner methods, at power levels such that both samples boil in/for about the same period of time. He places the "A" and "B" samples in the cooling area or fridge.

6. Later in each day, working alone, the plant handler waters the appropriate plants with the cooled "A" and "B" samples, checking for identical temperature.

7. Working alone, when the experimental period is over, the intermediary (who has no idea which type of water is "A" or "B") measures/photographs/etc. the plants. He must NOT allow the water handler to find out about these results, or the plant handler to do the measuring.

8. Finally, the trustee, with everyone present, produces the sealed envelope, and any differences in the A and B groups can now be attributed to the type of boiling method actually used.

Personally, I doubt under these conditions that microwaved water will be any different. But, hey, it doesn't matter what I think: this method will PROVE it.
Posted by DieDaily  on  Tue Apr 05, 2011  at  03:22 AM
@Oven Cleaning Chessington in England

As a scientist you can never say stuff like "Technically speaking there isn't anything in water that can make it toxic." That's wrong for known reasons, for instance the H2O could be made with Tritium (a radioisotope of hydrogen). A glass of that type of H2O would kill really, really quickly and certainly. Or something else weird could be going on, that's the thing. That's where we, as scientists, must never say never. Instead we go "hmm, what the heck, maybe" and DO THE UNBIASED EXPERIMENTS.
Posted by DieDialy  on  Tue Apr 05, 2011  at  03:26 AM
Microwaving water will not do a thing to the water. Microwaves use focused radio waves to cause hydrogen (positively charged) to vibrate, which causes heat. Water is a simple molecule with two hydrogens and an oxygen, so it heats fairly quickly, but its simplicity leaves no room for modifications to its structure. Microwaved water is water, just like purified water.

As for the breast milk argument, they have found that breast milk transfers bateria necessary to help digest foods and build an immune system to the child. When you microwave something, any bacteria or other organism will die because the hydrogen in its "body" (cell wall) will vibrate and heat up, effectively killing it. You are essentially disinfecting the breast milk by killing the good bacteria that newborns need introduced into their intestinal track.
Posted by Nate  on  Wed Apr 10, 2013  at  02:26 PM
If purified water was really used, as stated on the plant pots in the pictures, then it wouldn't matter. All that would be involved would be Oxygen, Hydrogen, and H2O. Proper purification reduces to water to it's pure form with maybe a few bits here and there. There wouldn't be any minerals or proteins that would be beneficial to mess up through wave energy.

My question about the experiment is if she let the water cool down before watering the plants. Hot or warmed water can damage roots and lead to the death of a plant, which would pretty much leave this experiment unreliable. There isn't enough information about the scientific process, and unless it is reproduced in a sealed environment with a proper report we won't know the true answer.

Because if I think back to my middle school projects, I would have done anything to prove my hypothesis. Kids can't really grasp the idea that proving your hypothesis right isn't the goal, and doesn't guarantee a good mark on the project.
Posted by Renee  on  Mon Sep 30, 2013  at  09:18 AM
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