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PofW_Feathers

Byblis glandular mucus

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Subject: Byblis glandular mucus
Sub title: could it contain a sleeping drug come anesthetizing agent; nerve immobilizing agent and/or an insecticide?

Konnichiwa!

I have been producing Byblis for the past ten years. In summer, to avoid the heat of the day, I often work at night under lights. My greenhouses are surrounded by rice fields. The harmful insect pest of the rice plant, Nephotettix cincticeps as well as many other insects are drawn to the lights in my Byblis greenhouse, where many of the insects of varying sizes are caught on the Byblis foliage.

Some insects however, because of their larger size do manage to escape from the glands on the Byblis foliage and drop to the soil in the pots below. I have often observed that the movements of these larger insect escapees are very slow and by the morning are dead.

At first I thought their death had occurred due to suffocation by their air-breathing pores being clogged with Byblis gland mucus. After observing many larger insect escapees with slowed movements followed by death, I have come to the conclusion that suffocation by mucus maybe wrong.

Last summer, I witnessed a Polistes wasp from the time it was first caught on Byblis foliage, to its escape and eventual death. The Polistes wasp, also known as a paper wasp, is far too large for Byblis to capture and process effectively as prey. Within ten minutes of capture, I noticed that the wasp was barely moving. I removed the wasp from the Byblis foliage and on closer observation it appeared that its air-breathing pores had not been blocked with Byblis gland mucus. Even though the wasp was still alive it was hardly moving, it appeared almost comatose. In the morning I found the insect had died.

One morning just recently I found a grasshopper caught on a Byblis plant (see photo 18: the grasshopper's forearms did not move at the time, it looked like it was almost dead). I took the photo on May 12,2009. The size of the grasshopper was far too large for Byblis to use as prey. I removed the grasshopper from the Byblis and noticed once again that it was hardly moving but was not dead. I could also see the grasshopper had no Byblis mucus clogging its air-breathing pores. In the evening, each time I touched the grasshopper it went into convulsions. The following morning the grasshopper drank some water that my wife had given to it but it was still rather frail and barely moving.

Byblis species are not immune from insect attack. I have seen a few types of caterpillar species eating Byblis. One morning, I noticed that some herbivorous insect had eaten half of an entire Byblis plant during the night. I do not know what the insect was or in what condition its health was after it had eaten this Byblis plant.

From these observations two questions have occurred to me.

1:Does the biochemical viscid glandular secretion mucus of Byblis and other carnivorous plants bearing dewy glands not only contain a digestive enzyme but also a sleeping drug come anesthetic, nerve destroying agent and/or insecticide as well that effects all flying insects?

2: Would it be possible to develop an insecticide, that is harmless to both man and the environment, based on the insect immobilizing chemical components contained within this viscid glandular secretion mucus?


Kind regards from the Far East
P.S. I will post a few photos. Please wait to reply to this message till then.
Photo 18:
15710650108_6a9e111704_b.jpg

 

 

photo link changed (same photo): 2014/11/29

Edited by PofW_Feathers

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Konnichiwa!

After my previous report I did an additional “grasshopper as prey” experiment. This time I placed another grasshopper onto the Byblis foliage. It took 1 hour and 30 minutes until I could see that the grasshopper's movements had been slowed to the point that it was almost comatose. This showed positively that the sleepiness effect on the grasshopper was caused by its contact with the Byblis mucus.

The first grasshopper has recovered considerably. The grasshopper seems not to have been suffocated by the closing of its air-breathing pores by Byblis mucus as I did not wash its air-breathing pores. My wife and I have simply been giving water to this grasshopper to drink for several days.

As can be seen in photo 19, the grasshopper seems to have resumed its health. Please note the brown spot on the grasshopper's right side. This mark shows that this grasshopper is the same grasshopper in photo18.

Byblis mucus appears to be harmless to frogs. Please see the photo 20, I often see this view. The frogs do not die.

Photo 19: The radio controlled watch showed Japan standard time.
15710835440_60f671a335_b.jpg

Photo 20:
15710835970_310482ae91_b.jpg
I welcome any other opinions.

Kind regards from the Far East

 

photo links changed (same photos): 2014/11/29

Edited by PofW_Feathers

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Fascinating! I know that my sarracenia leucophylla produces some nectar with a drug that stupefies insects...

Sometimes I'll find flies sitting on the lips of the pitchers that don't react when I touch them.

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Dear JohnnyBlaze-san,

Konnichiwa!

I carried out another experiment that was suggested by Mr. Allen Lowrie.

On May 19,2009;

I put three Byblis plants (without roots) in a glass jar. I then added 80ml of water to the jar. I shook the bottle hard. I then sprayed the diluted Byblis mucus onto the grasshopper. 12 hours later the grasshopper's movements had slowed a little. The viscosity of diluted Byblis mucus is thick and it did not spray easily onto the grasshopper.

On May 21,2009;

In the morning, I put two Byblis plants (without roots) in the glass jar. I added 10ml of water to the jar. I put the diluted Byblis mucus solution in an injection syringe (without needle). I then spread the diluted Byblis mucus onto the grasshopper's chest. One hour 30 minutes later the Grasshopper's movements were very much slowed. Although the grasshopper did not comatose it was still a good enough result!

In the night, I put three Byblis plants in a glass jar. I added 15ml water to the jar. I shook the bottle hard. I spread the diluted Byblis mucus solution onto another grasshopper's chest using a syringe.
Please see the photo 23:
The grasshopper movements slowed very much 1 hour later.
1 hour and 25 minutes later the grasshopper died.

Photo 21:
15712104109_b0896421ff_b.jpg

Photo 22:
15275869684_d9f1fecdbd_b.jpg

Photo 23
15897488672_2a1b836d21_b.jpg
I will contribute tropical Byblis species photo used for this experiment later.

Kind regards from the Far East

 

photo links changed (same photos): 2014/11/29

Edited by PofW_Feathers

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Very interesting tests you are doing Isao-san.

Have you tried isolating the suspect substance from the mucus?

I think if you use alcohol instead of water you would deal with the mucus-glue and slightly damping in the remaining liquid would give you a concentrated substance with the maybe insecticide -components in it to test out.

Kind regards,

Marcel

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Dear Marcel-san,

Konnichiwa!

Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu! (=Thank you very much!)

Here are the tropical Byblis species photos used for this experiment.

Photo 24:
15712103479_6b0ac83a90_b.jpg

 

Photo 25:
15872326456_6ea40525b8_b.jpg

Kind regards from the Far East

 

photo links changed (same photos): 2014/11/29

Edited by PofW_Feathers

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Amazing report and BEAUTIFUL plants!!!

Congratulations Takai-san!!

Best wishes,

Fernando

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Dear Takai-san,

A very interesting observation that you made! And thank you for reporting your detailed experiments here! I may have the equipment to detect possible toxic agents from extracts of Byblis mucus in my university, however I fear that (like in several toxic plants) the agent (if there was any) might be a mix a various components. Thus it might be well possible to detect what is there in Byblis mucus, however to reveal which substance (or what mix of them) is causing the slowing of insects will need further experiments.

Byblis species are not immune from insect attack. I have seen a few types of caterpillar species eating Byblis. One morning, I noticed that some herbivorous insect had eaten half of an entire Byblis plant during the night. I do not know what the insect was or in what condition its health was after it had eaten this Byblis plant.

And remember the Setocoris bugs that naturally live on (all?) tropical Byblis species! Not only do they get in contact with the mucus regularily, they even feed on it (as well as on the plant sap)! Thus in case there's a toxic substance in Byblis mucus, there are at least a few insects that are immune against it (like it is the case for almost all plant toxines).

Keep being curious, and good luck with further experiments!

All the best,

Andreas

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Really interesting experiments PofW_Feathers.

A very interesting observation that you made! And thank you for reporting your detailed experiments here! I may have the equipment to detect possible toxic agents from extracts of Byblis mucus in my university, however I fear that (like in several toxic plants) the agent (if there was any) might be a mix a various components. Thus it might be well possible to detect what is there in Byblis mucus, however to reveal which substance (or what mix of them) is causing the slowing of insects will need further experiments.

Hello Andreas,

Last year I made some protocols to identify some antibacterial/antifungal substances in carnivorous plant fluids. After extracting them, you separate chemical compounds on TLC and spread a solution of bacteria or fungus on the TLC. The spot where the bacteria/fungus die, there is the active compound. You scratch the silicagel of the spot, extract the compound and analyse it on mass spectrography (or to compare the position of the spot on the TLC with a reference TLC made with known compounds, but then you will only get the "chemical family" of the compound).

Well, that was just a theorical protocol I made after bibliographic researches, I couldn't test it. But I think you can applicate it with insect cell culture.

If you want more precisions, I'll help you with pleasure.

Regards

Aymeric

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Dear Takai-san,

This experiment gets more and more convincing/interesting, even though I have no scientific background!

Have you noticed any differences in the effects of the mucus on insects between different byblis species?

Edited by JohnnyBlaze

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Beautiful photos and great experiment :D

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