Senior Thesis Part I: Introduction to Secondary Metabolites in Plants.
In a dangerous situation or in times of sickness, humans and animals have ways of avoiding damage: physically escaping a predator and activation of white blood cells, among others. Plants, however, have no motile appendages to flee danger and no immune system to protect against pathogens1. Herbivorous tetrapods began feeding on plants as early as the late Coniferous period —about 300 million years ago2— and viruses existed long before that. When angiosperms began to diversify, such selection pressures necessitated the evolution of defense mechanisms such as armor (like thorns, waxes, and resins)3.However, herbivores have ways of overcoming mechanical defenses: tough skin to protect against thorns, for example. There became a need for a more efficient secondary defense: secondary metabolites.
By definition, a secondary metabolite is any organic compound not used in the growth or reproduction of a plant. For years, these were though of as ‘waste products’ or flukes of primary metabolism. Technological advances such as gas chromatography and spectroscopy allowed for greater study.Scientists were forced to draw the conclusion that secondary metabolites have a very real purpose: they can function as defense mechanisms or as signaling compounds to aid in seed dispersal and pollination. Secondary metabolites are under constant selection pressure to compete with their ever-changing environment, and thus are indispensable advantages in the survival of a species4. Although present in all higher plants, there is usually one predominant group of secondary metabolites per taxa (for example, steroidal alkaloids are common in members of the Solanaceae family)5. There are two main types of defense by secondary metabolites: induced and constitutive. Induced metabolites have a very apparent direct cause, as they are only employed when a plant is damaged or infected. Constitutive metabolites, however, are always present in the plant: their exact function is often determined indirectly by their toxicity and deferents4. As expected, there is a huge diversity among both induced and constitutive secondary metabolites, and their ecological purposes are not always immediately understood or apparent5. This paper will attempt to encompass those that are most widely known.
1. Wink, Michael. “Evolution Of Secondary Metabolites From An Ecological And Molecular Phylogenetic Perspective.” Phytochemistry 64 (2003): 3-19
2. Reisz, Robert R. and Hans-Dieter Sues. “Origins And Early Evolution Of Herbivory In Tetrapods.” Trends In Ecology & Evolution 13.4 (1998): 141-45.
3. Agrawal, Anurag A. “Macroevolution of Plant Defense Strategies.” Trends In Ecology & Evolution 22.2 (2007): 103-09.
4. Hartmann, Thomas. “From Waste Products To Ecochemicals: Fifty Years Research of Plant Secondary Metabolites.” Phytochemistry 68.22-24 (2007): 2831-2846.
5. Bennett, Richard N, and Roger M. Walls. “Secondary Metabolites in Plant Defence Mechanisms.” New Phytology 127 (1994): 617-633. Web. 22 Apr. 2010.
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Book Review: The Poison Diaries
So I often creep in the young adult section of the public library because I’m not quite an adult in my head.
I just got done reading this rather crap book that satisfied my “crap book” craving. I get these cravings when I intend to read a general fiction book from the big boy section. Like, I pick Atonement from the gen fic section then I look at it and I’m like “Gahhh 350 pages? I could be on the internet.” So I find a simpler book that takes mere hours to read to distract me from the both internet and the more complex story. Nothing is accomplished.
The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
Uh. The “diaries” part. Yeah, major red flag for lame teen drama. The poison part? Color me intrigued.
So it’s about some Mary Sue whose father is an apothecary. They grow everything themselves but the father keeps a special poisonous plant garden under lock and key from his young daughter.
Now, long before this book and the creation of tumblr, I had always dreamed of planting an all poisonous garden. I have aspirations of becoming that old lady that all the neighborhood kids think is a witch. If I had been better at science in school, I think I would have been a botanist because plants are SO COOL.
So the story goes on, we meet an orphan named Weed, who is a pale, soft handsome young man with beautiful green eyes. And can talk to plants. *shrug.*
Yaddyadda~ young couple falls in love, father tricks Weed into revealing new recipes for medical uses. blahblah, poisons daughter, some personified version of the poisonous plant Oleander, Weed makes a choice between killing father or saving whatsherface, unsatisfying ending.
I’m on the conclusion of this cheap story that took up 2 hours of my life and it leaves me high and dry. Like I’ve never expected a more rushed ending. Crapppp.
Alnwick Castle Trip.
Not long ago I arrived home from the most amazing trip I have ever been on. After winning a writing competition to write a poem with the title ‘Poisonous by Nature’, both myself and a guest (I took my Mum :P) were invited up to Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. And it was simply extraordinary!
The trip included various tours of the castle and it’s gardens; including the amazing Poison Gardens and Hulne Abbey which the book Posion Diaries is set around. We had dinner in a massive treehouse which consisted of some really magnificent food, the pudding was out of this world. A chocolate cheesecake, with a white chocolate shot, all on a plate with dry ice under it giving off smoke - how much more amazing could it all get?
I had a wonderful time and it wastruly a once in a life time experience. I’ve always had a thing for castles so this was brilliant for me. The Duchess of Northumberland herself was lovely and after sitting with her for tea in the State Dining Room I really did have to question if I was dreaming or not.
A big thanks to all the organisers and the Duchess, it was amazing.
Die Poison Diaries
Die Poison Diaries
Um 1800 - Jessamine lebt mit ihrem Vater in einer verlassenen Kapelle im Norden Englands. Sie führen ein stilles, von Jahreszeiten geprägtes Leben. Jessamines Vater ist Botaniker und züchtet in einem geheimen Garten mächtige und zugleich tödliche Gewächse, von denen er seine Tochter ferzuhalten versucht. Als eines Tages Weed auftaucht, ein rätselhafter Fremder mit absinthgrünen Augen, verfällt Jessamine ihm sofort. Doch kaum haben die beiden zueinander gefunden, wird das Mädchen sterbenskrank. Was ist Weeds dunkles Geheimnis? Ist er ihre Rettung oder bringt er den Tod?
Bisher gab es noch kein Buch, dass mir absolut gar nicht gefallen hat. Doch hier habe ich mir schon fast gewünscht, dass kein Heilmittel für Jessamine gefunden wird. Vielleicht lag es an der Sprachwahl, vielleicht konnte ich mich nicht in die Situationen oder Charaktere hineinversetzen. Jedenfalls hat mich nichts wirklich berührt und ich fand es recht langweilig und oberflächlich.
Mit Pflanzen kommunizieren zu können ist gut und schön, doch wenn dort schon keinerlei Emotionen hervorgerufen werden, dann kann das Zwischenmenschliche auch nicht berühren. Schon als der geheimnisvolle Junge Weed durch die Tür spaziert, ist klar, worauf es hinauslaufen wird. Natürlich verspürt Jessamine diese ominöse Anziehungskraft und dabei wirkt Jessamine ziemlich beschränkt und einfallslos. Auch ihre eher eintönigen Tagebucheinträge am Anfang eines jeden Kapitels lassen keine Spannung aufkommen. Einzig Weed mit seinem Geheimnis könnte im Verlauf der Geschichte bzw. des nächsten Bandes Hoffnung auf etwas Unerwartetes machen. Gefallen haben mir nur einzelne Zeilen innerhalb des Buches… Vielleicht wären andere Autoren mit besseren Schreibfähigkeiten und der gleichen Story besser bei mir angekommen.
Den zweiten Teil habe ich aber schon nicht mehr gelesen, also bezieht sich diese Bewertung lediglich auf Teil eins. Vielleicht findet jemand Gefallen an diesen Büchern, mich hat es kalt gelassen.
0 von 5 Punkten
Band 1 - Liebe ist unheilbar
Band 2 - Liebe ist stärker als der Tod
“Call it professional interest. You see, Jessamine, love is a kind of poison; one of my favorite kinds, in fact. It infects the blood; it takes over the mind; it seizes dominion over the body. It amuses me to think of him pining for you. Aching for what he cannot have. The loneliness in his soul is festering like a wound. There is nothing I could do for him that is worse than what you have already done, my lovely. And I assure you, in his case there will be no cure.”—
From The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood
I love passion. Raw, unadulterated, all-consuming passion ^.^ And yet, I’m ambivalent about reading The Poison Diaries… My friend Tierney recommended it to me, and her taste in literature is usually terrible. She enjoyed Twilight, after all - enough said.
Far be it for me to slam a book that I have not yet had the pleasure (?) of reading, though. Has anyone read it, and is it more tolerable than most of the garbage one sees in bookstores now, or would eating a tablespoon of salt be more pleasurable?
'The Poison Diaries' by Maryrose Wood
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Favourite male character: Weed
Favourite female character: Jessamine
(It’s not like I have more characters to choose from, anyway)
- It was very good until chapter fifteen, then it just went downhill.
- CLIFFHANGER ALERT
- The characters are very well developed
- The writing is beautiful
- It is the kind of book you can read in a sitting
- I liked the plot.
- The romance part wasn’t cheesy at all.
Very nice way of spending a Sunday when I have a cold.