A study on the different nutrients present in "hugas-bigas" was conducted. Pechay (Brassica pekinensis) plants were divided into five groups. The first group was watered with 100 percent concentration of the first washing, the second group with 50 percent concentration of the first washing, the third group with 100 percent concentration of the second washing, the fourth group with 50 percent concentration of the second washing, and the fifth with tap water. The "hugas-bigas" was also tested for the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as soil and water pH. Observations of plant growth showed that the 50% concentration of the second washing contributed to the highest growth of pechay plants. The first washing of "hugas-bigas" had a 31.9 percent Nitrogen concentration while the second washing had an 18.2 percent concentration.
Rice is the staple food of the Filipinos. It is a rich source of carbohydrates. Before cooking rice, "stone" and "husks" are picked out. Dust and mud are then washed away by water. However, some nutrients are also lost — dissolved in "wash water" or what Filipinos call "hugas-bigas ." Watering plants using "hugas-bigas" is a practice observed by Filipinos in rural areas. Plants watered by "hugas-bigas" are observed to have considerable improvement in growth. This study aims to use "hugas-bigas" in watering pechay (Brassica pekinensis) plants and to scientifically determine its effect on growth. The nutritive content of "hugas-bigas", specifically its nitrogen, phophorus, and potassium content will also be noted and determined.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION
The scope of the study will include the determination of the Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N, P, K) content of the "hugas-bigas." The pH of the "hugas-bigas" and the soil samples will also be determined. The height of the plants will also be measured.
However, environmental factors such as sunlight, rainfall, humidity, temperature, air pressure, wind velocity, and illumi¬nation cannot be kept constant for all set-ups.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Pechay (Brassica Pekinensis) is also called Chinese Cabbage, petsai, won bok and nappa. It is a versatile garden vegetable that may be used in making salads, coleslaw, or added to other stir-fried vegetables. Its crisp, tender leaves has a milder and sweeter taste than true cabbage. It is a good source of vitamin A, folic acid and potassium (Van Syk, 1996).
The average pechay has a cylindrical head of four inches thick and a length of up to 18 inches long. The predominant variety of the petchay has creamy yellow crinkly thickly veined inner leaves. It outer leaves are light green with a white midrib.
The pechay is available all year round and best planted in
the summer. The heads of the mature Chinese cab-.' bage are normally harvested when it is fully developed. It takes 70 to 90 days from planting for the pechay to reach maturity.
Rice (Oryza sativum) is a principal food of almost half the world's population. Rice flourish in Southeast Asia where there is warmth and moisture. It reaches an average height of around 1 metre. The fruit, a grain, is produced on the nodding panicle of spikelets at the apex of the stalk. A brown, fibrous husk surrounds a bran layer which encloses a white endosperm (Microsoft Encarta).
When the husks are removed, brown rice isleft. A hundred grams of brown rice is comprised of 7.5 protein, 1.8 percent fat, 15 milligrams of calcium, 1.4 milligrams of iron, 357 calories, 0.3 milligrams of vitamin B, 0.05 milligrams of vitamin B2, and 4.6 milligrams of nicotinic acid (Bender, 1972). The remaining 100 grams are carbohydrates containing compounds.
The consumption of brown rice has increased because of the nutritional value of rice bran. As the layers of rice are removed through pounding, milling, and washing, the proportion of the nutrients in the resulting grain is diminished while the proportion of the carbohydrates increases. When the hutritious bran is removed, white rice is left. Polished rice contains approximately 25 percent carbohydrates, trace amounts of iodine, iron (1 mg), magnesium, vitamin B (0.08 mg), vitamin B2 (0.03 mg) and phosphorous, and negligible amounts of fat (0.7 percent) and protein (6.7 percent) per 100 g of rice.
Carbohydrates content in rice consists of a polymer of glucose, starch. Starch is sometimes extracted from rice in East Asia to produce rice wine. Most starches are made up of two components, amylase and amylopectin.
Most of the water soluble nutrients present in rice, vita-mins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and minerals, such as phosphorus, calcium, and iron, loose starch granules and proteins are washed away before rice is cooked.
Before cooking, rice is soaked and washed at least twice with tap water. The nutritious liquid waste is then disposed of. Sometimes, the "wash-water" is made into am, a liquid given to infants and children suffering from dehydration. In the provinces it is a practice among Filipino women to water their plants with "hugas-bigas."
A fertilizer is any natural or manufactured material that is combined with soil to increase plant growth. Plants need three essential nutritional elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, and po¬tassium; secondary elements, calcium. Magnesium and sulfur; small amounts of micronutrients, boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. Plants obtain these nutri¬ents from the soil.
Natural fertilizers such as animal manure are bulky and hard to transport. Manufactured fertilizers are expensive. The value of a fertilizer depends on its nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content, and the presence or absence of other elements. A simple fertilizer contains only one plant nutrient. An example is super phosphate, a simple phosphate fertilizer. A multiple fertilizer contains two or more of the primary plant nutrients. Example include ammonium phosphate and potassium nitrate (Camus, 1989.)
Pechay seeds were gathered. There were five treatment groups with two pots allocated to each group. The pots were planted with 20 seeds each. The treatment groups were the control (100 percent tap water), first 100 (100 percent, first washing), first 50 (50 percent, first washing), second 100 (100 percent, second washing), second 50 (50%, second washing). The "hugas-bigas" was prepared with the ratio of a kilogram of rice is a liter of tap water for both first and second washings. The plants were watered everyday with 200 mL of the assigned treatment. Plant height was checked after the second and third week.
Nitrogen and Phosphorus Testing
The "hugas- bigas" was tested for the presence of nitrogen and phosphorus, nutrients needed for plant growth. The appa¬ratus for testing the presence of potassium (flame photometer) was not available so the test was not conducted. The presence of nitrogen was tested using the modified Kjeldahl wet digestion method. A 2g sample was collected and digested with 6 mLof 12 M sulfuric acid and 2g of mixed indicator (made up of selenium powder, copper and iron sulfate, bromcresol green and phenyl red.) The solution was diluted to 50 and then distilled with 25 mL 40% technical sodium hydroxide and 10 mL 20 % 0.2% boric acid. A reagent blank (no sample) was made. The distilled solution was then titrated with a 1.33 M solution of sulfuric acid. The result were then computed to get the percent nitrogen content of the samples, using the formula
Yo N (Vs— Vi,) NH2SO4 x 1.4 2g x 20
The presence of phosphorus was determined using the modified Bray no. 2 method. Two g samples of the soil and the hugas-bigas were mixed with reagents such as ammonium molybdate hexahydrate and stannous chloride and then diluted to 50mL. Fifty, 100, 200, 300, and 500 part-per-million (ppm) standards were made with potassium dihydrogen phosphate to set the spectrophotometer. The solutions were read in a spectrophotometer.
Most of the water soluble nutrients present in rice, vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, minerals such as phospho¬rus, calcium, and iron loose starch granules and proteins are washed away with the water after washing the rice. If the wash is not used immediately (i.e within two days), it will smell bad indicat¬ing the presence of microorganisms
The results from the pH testing show that "hugas-bigas" is acidic. This proves that "hugas-bigas" has more components than ordinary water that is responsible for its acidity. These components include dirt and nutrients that come from the rice itself. Rice comes from threshed palay. The brown husk of the palay is where the stored food is located. Thus, even after threshing rice will have some nutrients on its surface which, when washed, will mix with the water. The first washing has a higher pH than the second washing. The soil used was mildly acidic.
The pH data may be correlated with the height of the pechay plants. The plants treated with the 100 percent concentration of the first washing showed the least growth because the "hugas-bigas" proved to be acidic and thus became a deterrent to the plant. The ones planted in the 50 percent second washing showed the best results.
Presence of nitrogen in the 'hugas-bigas" gave a positive result. The nitrogen content of the first washing was higher than that of the second washing. The high nitrogen concentration may be taken into account by the protein (amino acid) content of the rice.
Tap water was used for practicality. Households don't wash their rice using distilled water. The arguments that tap waster's properties such as pH and chlorine content are not compared to distilled water is not actually a limitation to the study but an advantage. The results of this study maybe directly applied not only in the laboratory but also in everyday life.
Plants do not have mobile functions like humans or animals and therefore need to absorb nutrients from their environment. Sunlight, water carbon dioxide, and nutrients are made into food during the process of photosynthesis. The radiant energy of the sun plus the chemical energy of the nutrients make up the plant's food which they manufacture on their own. Fertilizers, as well as plant additives, give plants extra nutrients it needs for optimum growth. Nitrogen comes from amino acid which is responsible for root growth. Phosphorous is the nutrient responsible in building cells. It is also used to store and use energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate or ATO as it is commonly known. Potassium is used by cells to balance food intake and waste removal. Since there are water soluble nutrients in the "hugas-bigas", such as nitrogen and phosphorus, the "hugas-bigas" is able to provide the right amount of water and the nutrients it needs. The 100 percent concentration of the first washing of the "hugas-bigas" was too acidic and it had nutrients in excess of what is needed by the plant and therefore deterred its growth. The 50 percent concentration of the second washing though had the right combination of water and nutrients which resulted in the tallest plant heights.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
Results from the pH testing have shown that "hugas-bigas" is slightly acidic, which in high concentrations, would repress the growth of pechay plants. However, a weaker concentration such as the 50 percent second washing could be used as substitute for tap water.
It is recommended that researchers who wish to conduct the same experiments would have more knowledge in agriculture. They should also allot a longer time frame for planting and harvesting the plants because of conditions beyond man's control. They could also use other plants to see the effect of "hugas¬bigas" on other plants. It is not only important to measure the height of the shoot, but also root length and the dry weights of the plants. Further studies should observe and compare the growth of leaves, stem and root of the plant.
Buan, Ryan Paulo 0. Po
Ronald Aaron U. Dimaculangan
Mylai M. lbero, Jasmin B.
Jara, Monica Felise A.
Mr. Edmund Jason Baranda