Since plants are so familiar, we may overlook how vital they are to human life: How you use plants: • Food (& farming) • Medicines • Fossil Fuels & Fuels • Building materials & conservation • Aesthetics (ITS PRETTY- The light & dark side of Landscaping plants)
Plants as Food Plus: Controversial topics: • Sustainable farming • Are Genetically • modified plants safe? • -Can GM foods make • the food supply • healthier & solve • world hunger? • -Should food be used • to make ethanol? Image: http://www.aboutwomans.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/11297.jpg
Beginnings of Agriculture • 12-14,000 years ago, humans were nomad hunter gatherers. • Cultivating crops & raising animals allowed humans to settle & became the foundation for cities & civilizations. • Some early crops grown successfully: Corn, wheat & rice- still are primary food sources for people.
6 crops provide 80% of human caloric intake: • Wheat • Rice • Corn • Potatoes • Manioc (cassava) • Sweet potatoes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava
Much of Remaining 20% of human food comes from: • Bananas • Beans • Soybeans • Sorghum • Barley • Coconuts • Sugarcane • Sugarbeets
Problems with Farming • No- Till • A newer idea which advocates say will “save the planet” • Along with crop rotation, will keep down: • -Erosion • Carbon release into atmosphere • Use less fertilizer, pesticide & herbicide Tilling the soil: • traditional way of farming • turning over the top layer of soil • loosen soil for new seeds • keep down weeds. • Easier to apply chemicals • Aids in decomposition & enriches soil Problems: • Erosion • Release of carbon • Applying large quantities of antibiotics & chemicals
Sustainable Farming • “Sustainability rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/Concept.htm • Sustainable farming practices may also include a movement away from large, industrial farms to smaller, local, organic food production.
What is Genetically Modified Food? Genetic engineering: manipulating genes • When a gene for a protein or other substance from one species is inserted into the genome of a different species. • Now the organism produces substances that it never had the capacity to do before.
All living things have the same genetic building blocks DNA- deoxyribonucleic acid has 4 nitrogenous bases which make up the “alphabet” for the genetic code. SO- the same sequence of DNA codes for an enzyme, protein or other molecule no matter which organism it is in. That is the basis for Gene technology
First GM food- A tomato • The first commercially grown genetically modified food crop, Flavr Savr tomato, was made by adding a gene that prevented it from rotting on the shelf. • 1994- Approved by FDA –decided it was safe, was not a health hazard, & did not need special labeling. Calgene was allowed to release it into the market. • Welcomed by consumers who purchased the fruit at two to five times the price of standard tomatoes. • Company was bought by Monsanto in 1995.
Fishy Strawberries Scientists took a gene from the North Atlantic Flounder that produces an antifreeze & inserted it in a plasmid of a bacterium The bacterium infected the strawberry & the flounder antifreeze gene entered the strawberry’s DNA The new GM strawberry cells are cloned & grown into new plants that have strawberries which make a protein that keeps the fruit from frost damage. www.usbornequicklinks.com
Genetically Engineered Bt Corn • soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a natural pesticide. • Scientists isolated the blueprint (gene) for a protein within the bacteria's DNA which kills insects. • Bt gene combined with DNA of corn. • The makeup & heredity of the corn was changed. The Bt protein that kills insects is now made by the corn plant. • Some studies show Monarch butterflies are killed by the corn. • Concerns that this may cause some species to become extinct. http://www3.iptv.org/exploreMore/ge/main.cfm
GM foods • Could increase nutritional value • Increase aesthetics (prettier food) • Fight world hunger • As the human population increases, science may need to find ways to increase production of food- much like it did after WWII with new techniques such as machinery & antibiotic use.
GM foods- Golden Rice Golden Rice is part of the solution to world hunger & malnutrition. -Biofortified rice may alleviate life-threatening micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries-(decrease starvation) - Genetically modified- gene for provitamin A (β-carotene), is inserted into rice genome. www.goldenrice.org/
So does everyone agree that GM foods are wonderful? • No- there are many questions & protests about GM crops. • Bioethics- is the study of ethical issues related to DNA technology. A Greenpeace activist dressed as a cow protests at the headquarters of milk giant Murray Goulburn in Melbourne. (AAP: Julian Smith
Protesters in India vs GM foods • On 8 April 2008, farmers’ organizations and other civil society groups in India protest the dangers of GM crops in general & Bt Brinjal in particular. • Hazards reported to be deaths of livestock after animals grazed on Bt corn & Bt cotton & also allergic reactions & some deaths in villagers. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/gmProtestsIndia.php
Summary GM foods • Developed Nations: • GM foods used to: • *Make food look nicer • *increase shelf life • *fight pests • Increase profits • Questions remain about its safety. Developing Nations • A world hunger problem exists (many causes) GM seeds are used to • increase nutritional content & prevent loss of crops to pests • However, questions remain about it’s safety.
Why GM foods are Controversial: • Is the food safe to eat? (new chemicals) • The risk of gene transfer to weeds. • Crop biodiversity, worries about "gene pollution" & ecology • Concern about horizontal transfer of genes from GM crops to other organisms, such as bacteria.
More ways you use plants: Spices • Used to preserve & enhance foods • Freshen rooms • Cosmetics • Medicine • Read black pepper- Savior of rotting meat (page 7 textbook)
Some common spices: • Allspice- • Caribbean cuisine • weak antibiotic • deodorant • Anise- • sweet and very aromatic. • flavoring used in deserts • mild antiparasitic • its leaves can be used to treat digestive problems, relieve toothache, and it is used to treat lice and scabies. All of the following spices from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_and_spices
Some common spices Chives: -condiment -medicinal purposes -insect repellant Cinnamon: -condiment & flavoring deserts, cereals, candies, tea, hot cocoa and liqueurs. -medicine (cure for colds. Diarrhea, Diabetes, toothache, bad breath) -preservation of certain foods. -insect repellent
Some common spices • Garlic (Allium sativum ) • -food, in many cultures • -medicine • * prevents heart disease including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Cancer, diabetes, • anti-bacterial activity • Antibiotic activity- intestinal parasites • Also- Garlic has been reasonably successfully used in AIDS patients to treat cryptosporidium in an uncontrolled study in China. • Garlic supplementation in rats along with a high protein diet has been shown to boost testosterone levels **Spices/herb lab
More about garlic: • Many cultures have used garlic for protection or white magic, perhaps owing to its reputation as a potent preventative medicine. • Central European folk beliefs considered garlic a powerful ward against demons, werewolves, and vampires. • The association of garlic to evil spirits may be based on the antibacterial, antiparasitic value of garlic, which could prevent infections that lead to delusions, and other related mental illness symptoms. • In Northeastern India, it is believed that garlic mixed with water spread around the home will keep snakes from entering
Vanilla • There are three main commercial preparations of natural vanilla for use in cooking & baking: • whole pod • powder (ground pods) • extract (in alcoholic solution) • In old medicinal literature, vanilla is described as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for fevers. • The cosmetics industry uses vanilla to make perfume.
Fermented Plants for : root beer, beer & wine • Beer - Hops (Humulus) is a small genus of flowering plants. The female flowers, commonly called hops, are used as flavoring & stabilizers during beer brewing.
Sassafras tree Root Beer - also known as sarsaparilla, is a carbonated beverage originally created from sassafras. Originally made from Bark from the roots of the sassafras tree. -popularized in North America, comes in two forms: alcoholic and soft drink. Sassafras bark was banned by the FDA in 1960 because of its constituent chemical safrole, which causes permanent liver damage & cancer. A safrole-free variety is now used, with some claiming that it has a weaker flavor than the pre-1960 variety
More on the sassafras tree • Dried root bark produces an essential oil of safrole that was once used as a fragrance in perfumes and soaps, food and for aromatherapy. • Safrole is a precursor for the clandestine manufacture of the drug ecstasy, and as such, its transport is monitored internationally. • The species are unusual in having 3 distinct leaf patternson the same plant http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/pictures/sass_08.jpg
Wine History Wine was produced in many ancient cultures. The ancient Chinese made wine from native wild "mountain grapes”. Early people in the middle east made wine, but it became strictly forbidden in Islam to consume alcohol except for medicinal purposes. Clay wine amphora or pots bake in the sun in Ica, Peru http://www.lifeinitaly.com/wines/history.asp
Wine History • Evidence of Wine production has been found in Europe dating back to at least 4000 BC. • following the decline of Rome and therefore of widespread wine production, the Christian Church supported wine made for celebrating Catholic Mass. • In medieval Europe, In places such as Germany, beer was banned and considered pagan and barbaric • Eventually, winemaking capability like England who enjoyed wine varieties of Sherry, Port and Madeira. • Records of winemaking & grape cultivation kept by Christian monks of France & northern Italy helped various regions match the best variety grape for their soil. • By 1800, France would be recognized as the best of the wine-producing regions of the world.
Plants as traditional medicine • Early people used almost 3,000 different plants as medicine. • Black cohosh, a staple of Cherokee medicine, served many purposes- from diuretic to a cure for rheumatic pains. • Bloodroot provided the Cherokee with medicine to cure coughs and lung inflamations. American ginseng Blood root
Medically Important Plants • Willow bark - used for headaches & pain- • we now know it has salicylic acid • Or “Asprin” Willow tree
Plants have always been associated with healing • Since ancient times, people have noticed that plants can alleviate symptoms of many medical conditions. • During the 1500’s, “Herbals”- books which list use for plants were written. • 1700’s-modern chemistry used plant extracts containing alkaloids& other compounds for healing. • Example: Ephedrine is a powerful antihistamine derivied from shrub Ephedra.
Plants in modern medicine Taxus brevifolia(Pacific Yew) Conifer - NorthAmerica Produces anti-cancer drug - TAXOL Taxus brevifolia (Pacific Yew) foliage A Chemotherapy drug used in breast, ovarian and lung cancer treatment, Taxus brevifolia was already becoming scarce when its chemotherapeutic potential was realized.
Anti- malarial Drug Cinchona Tree & Quinine • Bark of cinchona trees produces several alkaloids. • The alkaloid, quinine, acts as a febrifuge -a medication that reduces fevers. • Quinine was used in the battle against malaria since the 1630's. • Of 38 species of cinchona, four species have economic value for the production of quinine: C. calisaya, C. legeriana, C. officianalis and C. succirubra.
What is Malaria? • Malaria is caused by protozoan of the genus Plasmodium. • Infection begins with a bite from an infected mosquito. • The parasite travels from the mosquito to your liver, where the parasite begins to reproduce. • The parasite leaves the liver and travels to the bloodstream, where it infects red blood cells. The parasite reproduces in the red blood cells, which destroys the cells and releases more parasites into the bloodstream. • An estimated 350–500 million clinical malaria episodes occur annually, resulting suffering & in a million deaths.
The most famous story behind the discovery of Quinine • In 1638 the Countess Ana of Chinchon. contracted malaria in Peru. • Given a powder that cured her of the fevers. Impressed by this new cure she collected the bark and gave it to others who needed it. • (However, it is widely disputed that the Countess was responsible for spreading the bark, or that she even had malaria.) • Nevertheless, Linnaeus named the genus Cinchona in her honor. Show video DDT/ malaria
Other examples of medicinal drugs • Curare comes from a tropical vine, and is used as an anesthetic and to relax muscles during surgery. • A person with lymphocytic leukemia has a 99% chance that the disease will go into remission because of the rosy periwinkle. • More than 1,400 varieties of tropical plants are thought to be potential cures for cancer. • Also-See page 42, medically important compounds • (you will be doing a report on this eventually)
Medically Important Plant Compounds In your textbook- 1. page 10 • read about antibiotic plant chemicals. 2. Page 42 • Read about alkaloids produced by certain plants & about using cell cultures to produce these compounds. • (You will be doing a research paper about some of these drugs during chapter 2)
Addictive plants • Sometimes, plants take advantage of our dependence on them & create addictive chemicals that make us chemically dependent. For example: • cane plants create sugar • coffee and tea plants create caffeine • tobacco plants create nicotine • coca plants create cocaine • poppy plants create opium.
“We underestimate the plant kingdom.” • Plants are so ubiquitous and stationary that we ignore them and take them for granted. We assume that plants are passive and dumb. • We call lazy people "couch potatoes" and dull people "vegetables”. • Note- Addictive plants undermine our potential for life and enslave us. http://www.organicmd.org/plantsandanimals.html
Plants as Fuel • Past photosynthesis provides the fossil fuels needed to power industry, engines & automobiles. • We burn wood as fuel. • We can burn peat moss. • We now ferment plants into ethanol.
Photosynthesis & fuels in the environment- It’s a cycle • Burning firewood, ethanol, or coal, oil & other fossil fuels releases CO2 back to the atmosphere, increasing "greenhouse gases" in the environment. • Since photosynthesis converts carbon dioxide from the air to carbohydrates- Plants act also as a “carbon sink”. • As photosynthesis consumes carbon dioxide and releases oxygen, it helps counteract the effect of combustion of fossil fuels.
Fossil Fuels • Are plant - fossilized remains • Fossil fuels are non-renewable resources because they take millions of years to form, and reserves are being depleted much faster than new ones are being formed. • Concern about fossil fuel supplies is one of the causes of regional and global conflicts. • The production and use of fossil fuels raise environmental concerns. • A global movement toward renewable energy is under way to help meet increased energy needs