Methanol as a "fertilizer"

Dan Jacobson danj at
Thu Apr 8 12:25:54 EST 1993

Bill Mammel writes:

>[ . . . ]
>Does anyone know the exact reference such that I could interlibrary loan
>it?  I haven't found anything that indexes/abstracts the Proceedings.

The reference is:

The path of carbon in photosynthesis: improved crop yields with methanol.

    Nonomura AM.  Benson AA.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of    
    America.  89(20):9794-8, 1992 Oct 15.

    Foliar sprays of aqueous 10-50% methanol increased growth and development  
    of C3 crop plants in arid environments. The effects of low levels (: 1 ml  *
    per plant) of methanol were observed for weeks after the brief time        
    necessary for its rapid metabolism. Within several hours, foliar treatment 
    with methanol resulted in increased turgidity. Plants treated with         
    nutrient-supplemented methanol showed up to 100% increases in yields when  
    maintained under direct sunlight in desert agriculture. In the shade and   
    when winter crops were treated with methanol, plants showed no improvement 
    of growth. When repeatedly treated with nutrient-supplemented methanol,    
    shaded plants showed symptoms of toxicity. Repeated methanol treatments  
    with glycine caused increased turgidity and stimulated plant growth        
    without injury under indirect sunlight, but indoors with artificial        
    illumination, foliar damage developed after 48 hr. Addition of             
    glycerophosphate to glycine/methanol solutions allowed treatment of        
    artificially illuminated plants indoors without injury. Plants with C4     
    metabolism showed no increase in productivity by methanol treatment.       
    Plants given many applications of aqueous methanol showed symptoms of      
    nutrient deficiency. Supplementation with a source of nitrogen sustained   
    growth, eliminating symptoms of deficiency. Adjustment of carbon/nitrogen  
    ratios was undertaken in the field by decreasing the source of nitrogen in 
    the final application, resulting in early maturation; concomitantly,       
    irrigation requirements were reduced.    

Best of luck,

Dan Jacobson

danj at

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