Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hydro Priming Seeds With Cheetos

Hydro-priming is the process of soaking seeds in water before planting. Hydro-priming decreases the time it takes seeds to germinate. For this experiment, we wanted to test how different concentrations of Cheetos in the water would affect the germination rates of pea seeds. Do you expect that Cheetos will help or hinder the germination of seeds?


For this experiment we used:
700 snow pea seeds
7 plastic cups
8 plastic bags
7 paper towels
1 meat tenderizing mallet
30 Cheetos Puffs
Sharpie to label bags and cups
A squirt bottle


First we labeled each of the cups as follows: Dry, 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. For each cup, we put the indicated number of Cheetos in a bag, then used a meat tenderizing mallet to smack the Cheetos into powder. We then dumped the Cheeto powder from the bag into the appropriate cup.

The next step was to add 1/2 cup of water to cups 0 - 10. No water was added to the cup labeled "Dry." The solutions were thoroughly mixed.

Next, 100 snow pea seeds were added to each cup, making 700 seeds total. The seeds were stirred into the solution. We let the seeds soak overnight.

The next morning we drained and cleaned the seeds from their solutions. The dry seeds were not washed. Seven paper towels were prepared by wetting them and then wringing them dry. Each cup of seeds were spread into the center of one of the moist paper towels. The towels were folded in around the seeds and placed in a resealable plastic bag. Each bag was labeled to identify the Cheeto concentration in which the seeds had soaked. 

Every 12 hours the seeds were removed from the bags so we could count the number of seeds that had germinated. The germinated seeds were removed and the results were recorded. The remaining seeds were misted with a squirt bottle to keep them moist, then rewraped in the paper towel, and put back in its plastic bag. 


Here are the results. Click on the table to make it larger.

Here is a graph of the same information.


The seeds that soaked in the densest concentration of Cheetos were the only seeds that germinated after 12 hours. These concentrations also germinated the highest percentage after all but one of the periods. None of the seeds that were not primed germinated after 48 hours.

It was hard to determine if a seed had germinated. We counted it if part of the root had extended from the seed. If we were to do the experiment again we would only count them if the root were a specified length. Also, since there were so many seeds that germinated between 24 and 36 hours it might have been helpful to count the seeds every 6 or 8 hours, instead of every 12.


Hydro-priming definitely makes a difference. We think it is also safe to conclude that seeds primed in a solution of Cheetos germinate faster, and a higher percentage of seeds germinate compared to seeds primed in tap water. Further experimentation would be necessary to determine if the Cheeto primed seeds would be more healthy, or if the mature peas would taste like Cheetos.


  1. What's most interesting is that corn starch is often used as a pre-emergent to PREVENT weed seeds from germinating. Corn is the main ingredient in Cheetos.

    Nice work!

  2. mmmm Peatos.

    Keep up the sterling work.

  3. Cool! You could also do a control experiment with salt, based on the salt content on the label. I would have expected salt to reduce germination, but what do I know?

  4. Doing SCIENCE... Like a Boss! =)
    Saludos desde (Greetings from) Monterrey, MX