An experiment that could provide some valuable insight for local farmers is the newest masterpiece created by a Swift Current Comp. High School student that's now won the Chinook Regional Science Fair two years in a row.

Mapalo Mushoriwa's "Effect of Climate Conditions on Cadmium Uptake in Wheat" placed first last week and helped her book a ticket to the Canada-Wide Science Fair again. 

This time she'll be travelling to Ottawa to show off her work from May 26 to June 1.

"I was really excited because this is my last year of being able to do a science fair here so I get another chance to go back to nationals and represent the school again," she said.

The grade 12 student used last year's national experience to push herself to develop something outside her comfort zone this go around. Even before the 2023 event in Edmonton, she had her eyes on making a return in her senior year to the 2024 Canada-Wide Science Fair. 

Mushoriwa found a new mentor at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre following her regional win last year to help guide her back onto the local podium and hopefully the national one. She wanted to investigate plant toxins and after a discussion with her mentor, the cadmium idea blossomed.

"We looked at the germination of three different types of durum wheat variations with four different kinds of cadmium concentrations to test the effects on how they would germinate in two different temperatures," she explained. "We had one in a germination cabinet and another in like an oven set to 30 C.

"You don't really consider how would cadmium would get into the soil but it does through waste products, traffic, and increase of industry."

She began the project's planning stages in November before diving into the scientific experiment during February break at the Swift Current Research and Development Centre.

"I had 1,140 seeds I had to get lined in five rows of four across 72 dishes which took a good chunk of my day," she said.

The conclusion was that the chemical element does slow the germination rate down when you increase the amount used.

A big difference between Mushoriwa's DNA preservation using fruit project in 2023 and the effects of cadmium project this year, is last year's topic has some answers online. This year's topic appears untouched.

"I would say that this project is more national-worthy," she said. "I think it will do pretty well, it is very current, and it has to do with something happening right now. It's very significant to the area I'm living in and that's something they (judges) liked."

She has two-plus months to prepare for a second crack at the Canada-Wide Science Fair but first has to complete a greenhouse experiment to further her project and create a website to display the work.