Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Anti-Freeze Spray For Plants Has Been Developed
Plant tissue normally freezes at around -6.6 to -6.3 degree centigrade according to David Francko, Ph.D, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. This causes inconvenience for gardeners, farmers and even scientists conducting experiments. He and his team developed a spray which lowers the plants freezing temperatures and encourages the plant to strengthen natural mechanisms to avoid being frozen.
He tested his sprays by placing plants that have been sprayed and those that haven't in a freezer where the temperature was accurately known. After different intervals of time he checked their status (if they died or showing more resistance to lower temperatures).
This, probably long and meticulous, testing eventually gave rise to his antifreeze spray. His spray allowed the plants to tolerate about 10 more degrees below their normal freezing point and the sprays last for about 4-6 weeks which is convenient and ideal for farmers and gardeners.
We may ask... what is in this spray? Well is contains five essential ingredients (the precise ingredients are obviously secret as the spray will be in sale soon):
1) An anti-freeze substance found in animals. I found out that fish which inhabit the Arctic and who are cold blooded produce proteins which slow down the formation of bonds between water molecules in their bodies which prevents the formation of ice crystals in the fish's blood. Maybe the spray has anti-freeze animal proteins?
2) An ingredient which dehydrates the plant cells, this means less water to freeze.
3) An ingredient which strengthens cell walls (maybe insulation or to keep the cell intact from the expansion of the water when going under the phase transition?)
4) A solution which helps penetrate the leaves to enter the system.
5) One ingredient to avoid the solution from being washed away by rain and snow.
Some bacterium, namely: Carnobacterium pleistocenium was found in the arctic solidified in pure ice. Apparently according to those who studied the bacterium it has been frozen there for at least 32,000 years. Once the ice began to melt, it came back to life. Amazing cellular properties.
It would be scientifically awesome if the genome of this bacterium could be sequenced and the 'gene' for surviving in extremely low temperatures pinpointed and exploited for the testing on mice and plants. Maybe we could survive extremely temperatures.... maybe we could be frozen for 32,000 years!!!!