Attn:David Erskine/Parasitic plants etc...

slayrz at slayrz at
Thu Sep 25 20:58:34 EST 1997


    It's great to know that people somewhere in the world are thinking, 
even if many are not thinking in the U.S. anymore !!

    As I recollect from my botany and plant physiology courses, green 
plants harness the sun's energy by using chorophyll (which captures solar 
energy) and inorganic elements (C,H,O,P,K,N,S,Ca,Fe,Mg.etc...) to 
biosynthesize sugars and starches. These, in turn, provide energy for 
non-photosynthesizing life forms, eg.,people, animals, fungi,etc...

    I wonder about the effiency of your hypothetical process. Some energy 
is obviously lost in the conversion of solar energy to "food energy". How 
much more would be lost when trying to convert sugars back into plants 
with food potential ? Would it consume less energy just to dehydrate and 
transport rather that transport sugar in any form?

    This brings up the next question, "What do you mean by local water ?"

    What elements would become concentrated by continued recycling of 
wastes ? Here on earth, human waste contains heavy metal toxins, among 
other undesirable elemants.

    Planets, moons, and asteroids with little or atmosphere to filter the 
sun's rays would perhaps receive enough solar radiation to permit 
photosynthesis, although the photoperiod will be significantly different.

    I am unaware of any parasitic plants that may be or are capable of 
providing any kind of significant nutrition. Maybe, someone out there 
knows of some.

    Do you know someone in the CSIRO by the name of Stuart Miller ? He 
would have graduated from the University of New South Wales in the early 
70's. Graduate work in soil science and strip mine reclamation at the 
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

Richard M. Slaybaugh Jr.

More information about the Plantbio mailing list