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Plants- why study them




absorbs infrared

radiation from earth,

keeping that energy

in the atmosphere longer and contributing to global


Slide 7

Why Study Plants?

Why Study Plants?

Sugars and their polymers

A. “Carb’s are the enemy,” according to Dr. Atkins, right? I don’t buy it, but then again I’m not losing weight, either. Plants give us simple sugars as well as starches. Even if your on a low-carb diet, you can still thank plants for all the leafy greens you’re (hopefully) eating. And then there’s the fact that all the meat you eat was part of an animal that probably ate plants to live. So almost all our food comes

from plants.

Slide 8

Why Study Plants?

Why Study Plants?

B. Fibers--

1. Cotton: As George

Costanza showed the

Yankees on Seinfeld,

cotton is king.

2. Paper: Average paper

use per person in North America is 2 kg/day.

3. Fibers such as nylon and

rayon are processed from

wood fibers.

Slide 9

Why Study Plants?

Why Study Plants?

Other molecules

A. Medicines

Also noteworthy are aspirin, ephedra (banned),

quinine, ginkgolides, and others.

Rosy periwinkle from Madagascar treats two cancers: juvenile leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease. Threatened by increasing population.

Taxol from the bark of the pacific yew tree is one of the most promising anti-cancer drugs.

Foxglove produces digitalis, which treats heart disease.

Slide 10

Why Study Plants?

Why Study Plants?

B. Spices

C. Oils

D. Essential amino acids--There are 8 amino acids that we need in our cells, but we don’t have the ability to produce them ourselves.

We can most easily get them

from plants. To get the complete

set of essential amino acids,

a combination of

legumes and cereals is best.

What does that mean?

E. Fossil fuels like coal, crude oil, and natural gas are the products of plants that died a long time ago.

Slide 11

Why Study Plants?

Why Study Plants?

F. I would be remiss not to mention one of the most economically and culturally important “other molecules” that is

made from



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