Methanol's affect on C3 and C4 plants

Lowell Zelinski lowell at
Wed Apr 13 09:52:50 EST 1994

> 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.
>    Abstract                                                                    
>     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

I have this article - and have read it.  I thought it was one of the
poorest scientific articles I've every read.  

Does anyone out there agree?

p.s. the best part was the disclaimer at the bottom of the first column
indicating that the article must be mark as an "advertisement"


What a long strange trip its been

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