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Nick1234

Enzymes in Darlingtonia

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The two books I have on CPs seem to disagree about whether Darlingtonia secrete digestive enzymes. D'Amato says no, the Pietropaolos say yes - one enzyme. Does anyone know which is correct?

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Pietropaulos isn't the best book I think ( not that damato's has some errors). They run Peter paul's so I don't know if they know what they are talking about.

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Slack reckons not - he claims all digestion is by bacterial action.

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You would think it would be relatively easy to find out, but it seems no scientist has had the time or funding to investigate!

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Hi all:

I would dare to say that the lack of research articles on the digestive function of Darlingtonias is most likely due to a lack of funding rather than a lack of interest. A large number of scientists, nowadays, are focusing on research with a commercial application rather than pure science!. Governments are creating this trend!

If we ask ourselves whether darlingtonias have enzymes or not from a scientific point of view either opinion could be valid, until someone proves otherwise.

Gus

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Slightly off-topic, but I wish someone would do some proper research into the carnivorous nature of the Byblis species. This still seems to be a mystery. Unfortunately, I know virtually nothing about biology or botany, so I can't contribute!

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I would dare to say that the lack of research articles on the digestive function of Darlingtonias is most likely due to a lack of funding rather than a lack of interest

All you would need is an egg, oh and don't forget the Darlingtonia which is the expensive bit!! If you want to get technical you could try a few antibiotics and idealy check to see if you have steralised the liquid, basic agar plates should do... Not expensive but quite a bit of stuffing around.

I back lack of intrest. :(

So, any intrest out there? Anyone looking for a science project...?

George

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Slightly off-topic, but I wish someone would do some proper research into the carnivorous nature of the Byblis species. This still seems to be a mystery. Unfortunately, I know virtually nothing about biology or botany, so I can't contribute!

I'm not sure what you mean by 'proper research', if you mean peer-reviewed and performed by professional scientists at an established research establishment (University or other), then you are out of luck. Siggi Hartmeyer has, however, published his research on carnivory and Byblis in the CPN, both papers are available online at the ICPS Web Site and it's well worth reading if you're interested in the subject.

http://www.carnivorousplants.org/cpn/sampl...ce262Byblis.htm

http://www.carnivorousplants.org/cpn/sampl...e274Byblis2.htm

Vic

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Vic,

Thanks for those links. I was aware that there was doubt as to the carnivory of the genus. I have read rumors that fungus may be involved in digestion also, and something I don't understand about cotyledons on the CP mailing list archives. I am very interested in the subject, but as I said, I am unable to make any contribution myself due to my ignorance. By the way, sorry about hijacking the thread about Darlingtonia!

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Greg:

I think there are a couple of ways of classifying carnivory:

1) plant produces traps and digestive fluids capable of dissolving the insect's proteins and anything useful for the plant except for the chitin exoskeleton of insects with or without the help of bacteria and fungus ie, nepenthes, droseras, dionea, utrics?, and cephalotus

2) plant produces trap, but the breakdown of proteins and carbohydrates are the cause of the bacteria and fungus present inside the trap ( in the water or digestive soup). In this particular case, the plant is unable to produce enzymes. (sarracenia, heliamphora and possibly darlingtonia)

Gus

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Guest ALLOSAURZ

Out of curiosity couldn't someone just gut one of their pitchers and rub the juice on some undeveloped film to see if there were enzymes or not?

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Guest Aidan

I think enzymes would be present whether or not the plant itself produces them, as a result of bacterial decay.

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What if an unopened pitcher was used?

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Guest Aidan

Will the plant produce digestive enzymes at this time? If I remember correctly (It's late! :mrgreen:) I don't believe Sarracenia do until until a new pitcher begins to catch.

Perhaps it could be achieved by growing the plant in an aseptic environment and feeding sterile prey items... :(

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Darlingtonia has digestive glands. Not sure if they function quite as well as the digestive glands in Dionaea, however.

Darlingtonia lures, captures, digests, and derives nutrients from prey. Darlingtonia is a carnivorous plant.

Brad

Ventura California

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Hi all:

digestive enzymes will always be present in the fluid of carnivorous plants, the question most of us asks: where they are coming from.

bacteria and fungi also produce these to degrade decomposing matter. The only way to have a significant result is to attempt to withdraw a digestive juice from a darlingtonia while the trap is still close or sterile and test for the presence of enzymes.

I only have a couple of baby darlingtonias with me and i see that even when small the traps are open, so it would be extremely difficult to keep the contents of the pitcher sterile if the pitcher itself is exposed to air when immature.

Gus

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I like aidan's idea of testing tissue culture plants. The plant is bound to produce enzymes but are they to catalyze the digestion process or do they simply help in lowering activation energies for regular cell processes? You could probably try an in vitro darlingtonia or other "enzyme-less" plant and feed it sterile cultures of maggots. I believe sterile maggots are used in medical practices to get rid of diseased flesh. The act of feeding the plant seems like a pretty straight forward process too, just make sure you clean the hood you are using and sterilize all tools in bleach. I don't know how you'd check to see if the plant has digested it.

I would try a number of plants, including those known to have enzymes. It would probably be simpler to test byblis as they can superficially show digestion and you wouldn't have to dissect anything. As far as finding the actual compound/protein, mass spectroscopy can be used but I have never done it myself.

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