Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Interesting article

It's been a while since I've posted...I had nothing interesting and found myself repeating things from previous years.

Here's an interesting article I ran across from Wired entitled "Amazing Chemicals Invented by Nature, Rebuilt in Lab".
An excerpt:

Natural substances can treat cancer, prolong life and trigger amazing hallucinations.

But although nature can make a remarkably wide variety of chemicals — far more than the best molecule-making robots — it does not always deliver them in bulk. Drug companies and medical researchers often turn to organic chemists when they need something that is too rare or too difficult to harvest from the wild.

Click on the thumbnails at the bottom right of the article and you'll come across things like,

"The substance used to make the drug, shikimic acid, is found in Chinese star anise and was in short supply."

My favorite was on the Death Cap mushroom (not as cool a name as the "Destroying Angel A. virosa, but...), Amanita phalloides. "Eat a deathcap mushroom, and your next stop is the morgue. It contains a chemical called amantin, which destroys the liver and kidneys."

(Here's the interesting part) "But that's not all. It has another poison, called phalloidin, that sticks to the scaffolding of cells. That substance is less deadly and has a useful purpose: By attaching the toxin to a fluorescent dye, researchers can study the inner workings of cells, and watch how they divide. Those observations can shed some light on how cancer works and the way tissues grow."

So, check out the article.

7 Comments:

Blogger . said...

You're back!!

Just tried you by chance. So glad. I had been thinking for a while and was worried.
Haven't read the post yet :-)
Best wishes for health and happiness.
jo.

5:55 AM  
Blogger Entangled said...

Hi Ki,

I noticed you hadn't posted anything in a while and wondered if you were OK. I haven't been spending much time reading or writing blog entries lately either. Like you, I felt I was repeating myself and I just can't keep up with the huge (and growing) number of garden bloggers if I want to get anything else done. I've been spending some time on Twitter, of all things, after saying I wouldn't.

Anyhow, interesting article from Wired. I looked into geosmin (the rain-scent substance) a bit last fall when I was trying to learn what causes the earthy taste of beets.

6:51 AM  
Blogger joey said...

Thinking of you :)

3:28 PM  
Blogger Gotta Garden said...

I just wanted to say hello...I'm sure your garden must awakening and I, for one, will look forward to seeing those magnolias! I would never tire of those pictures...especially the yellow one!

Take care now.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Digital Flower Pictures said...

Hi Ki,

I hope you find time to post a couple of pictures of your garden this spring. I know what you mean about posting the same things year after year and am struggling with that a little myself. I have been trying to find a new angle or information and that has helped me as a gardener.

Happy Spring.

7:36 PM  
Blogger lisa said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the link, I'm always curious about this kind of thing. The death cap research is especially interesting...I read a story by someone who ate one and survived-barely.

9:33 AM  
Blogger lisa said...

Very interesting! I was especially glad to see they replicated the strawberry poison dart frog's poison...amphibians are threatened worldwide and I hate to see them keep disappearing!

2:53 PM  

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