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#1 2021-07-14 10:16:02

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,349

The lowly Leaf

For SpaceNut ... I asked FluxBB multiple times and in multiple ways if there is a topic with the word "leaf"

None showed up for me.  However, you have shown the ability to find things that elude me so I'm prepared for that to happen again.

In the mean time, this new topic is offered in celebration of the lowly leaf.

The leaf is a photosynthetic engine that is somewhere around 3% efficient.

We have members of the forum (including currently active members) who are advocates of efficiency.

In the case of the leaf, i am grateful that Nature has optimized energy capture at about 3%, because otherwise leaves would be black, and only visible in black body radiation.

Our luxurious green scenery (in regions lucky enough to have a supply of fresh water) would be featureless and boring.

***
With the above as introduction, and taking a leaf (pun intended) from Tom Easton (well known writer of Science Fiction) I'd like to challenge forum members with posting privileges to report any research that may be underway (or perhaps even published) that allows for production of useful liquid from leaf bearing structures.

My neighbor (on the side opposite the doctor with the Tesla) cultivates vines for privacy.  While I understand the motivation, and even enjoy the benefit to some extent, I am mildly irritated by the need to constantly trim back the tendrils of the vines.  These can grow feet (a meter) overnight. 

So!  Can we humans guide the evolution of fast growing vines like that to make excess fluid we can harvest the way US Maine residents harvest maple syrup?

There may already be plants that can be harvested in exactly such a way, and I'm simply unaware of them.

Edit: to avoid confusion ... I'm talking about drawing useful fluid from growing plants.  Humans already know how to harvest useful materials by cutting plants entirely, or by harvesting fruit.  I'm NOT inviting a review of all that history.  What I'm looking for are plants that produce useful fluid that can be harvested without destroying the plant. That is why I have Maple Syrup as an example.  Maple Syrup requires investment of energy to prepare useful products for human consumption.  What I'm looking for is research (or perhaps actual results) that leads to production of useful fluid without damage to the plant.

***
Related ... Mangrove trees are able to deal with salt water ... They've evolved mechanisms for pulling fresh water from salty water.

In another topic it was reported that floating wind farms are in development in Europe, and under consideration for the Pacific Ocean near California.

A floating platform planted with mangrove trees would (?should?) be able to capture Solar photons to sustain the trees, capture a number of the photons not consumed in the leaves, and thus contribute to reduction of heating of the oceans, which ** should ** contribute to decreasing the intensity of storms.

***
Related ... I have reported previously that there is a variety of glass that floats ...

The glass is expensive (at present) and only used for specialized purposes when it is the best possible material and worth the cost.

(th)

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#2 2021-07-14 11:02:02

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: The lowly Leaf

Birch trees produce sap and can be harvested for syrup, exactly the same way as maple trees. Birch syrup does not have as much sugar, so must be boiled down even more.

Maple trees are harvested today by tubes. A long time ago, the technique was at hammer a hollow spike into a maple tree trunk, with a hook on the spike to hold the handle of a bucket. Sap would drip into the bucket. Today they still use the hollow spike, but they're connected to plastic tubing which directs the sap into a closed container. Some use a plastic bucket with lid, some use a 5-gallon water jug, some use a large capacity bulk container. Depending how many trees can be connected with tubes to the one container. But it has to be boiled down for syrup. Maple sap flows in spring when trees are waking from winter dormant state. Sugary sap flows up during warm weather to feed leaf buds, when it gets cold again, sugary sap flows back down into the roots. The tap causes sap to leak out into the bucket or catch tube while it's flowing down.
170px-Sap_plastic_tubing.jpg d98a884f5ce17143cd43cf72499870b7.jpg maxresdefault.jpg 111_0408.JPG?token=C5mdK9KjK81T1BuyszBe%2BbeKxEY%3D 31ae72fcbfafc5ce20239895ad0d91ef.jpg collecting-maple-syrup-BHPYJ4.jpg

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#3 2021-07-14 11:10:40

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: The lowly Leaf

The life support idea that I've been talking about is kind-a/sort-a like that. Harvest chloroplasts from leaves of a plant, place them in sterile water in a transparent plastic bag. Illuminate the bag with sunlight. Chloroplasts will convert water + CO2 → O2 + sugar. And the sugar will be polymerized to complex carbohydrate. Which carbohydrate depends on which plant you get the chloroplasts from. The easiest to harvest chloroplasts is a pea, so that will produce pea starch. For the plastic bag, use a semipermeable membrane that allows O2 to pass through. A water pump to circulate water inside the bag, and fan to blow air outside, to promote O2 leaving the bag. This is the primary oxygen generator for my life support system. Water will be filtered to remove starch. The issue is how long chloroplasts will last outside the cell of a plant. There's an undergraduate university biochemistry lab experiment to prove chloroplasts do photosynthesis. No attempt to isolate chloroplasts from oxygen, the chloroplasts last 20 minutes. My assertion is the problem is oxidation of RuBP. Add genes from cyanobacteria to the chromosome in a pea plant that is used to produce the plasmid for chloroplasts. This ensures the gene modification will breed true, pea seeds will produce pea plants with this modification. In nature chloroplasts have 85% of genes from cyanobacteria, so this adds back some missing genes. Look up photorespiration, normally RuBP becomes 2 molecules of 3PG, but when oxygen binds instead of CO2, it becomes one 3PG and one 2PG. That 2PG must be recycled. Part of the recycling process is done in the rest of the leaf cell, involving peroxisome and mitochondria, but cyanobacteria can do it themselves. Furthermore cyanobacteria have 3 pathways (glycerate pathway, C2 cycle, decarboxylation), while plants with leaves only have 1 (glycerate). Add all 3. This should greatly extend viability of invitro chloroplasts. Water in the bags must be sterile, ensure no bacteriophage gets in. Bacteriophage are viruses that infect bacteria, chloroplasts will lack defence mechanisms of cyanobacteria. And we don't want to add all genes for cyanobacteria, because chloroplasts must still function inside a leaf cell.

Or is this beyond what this thread is about?
F1.large.jpg

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#4 2021-07-14 11:32:40

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,349

Re: The lowly Leaf

For RobertDyck re #2 & #3 ....

Thank you for your substantial contributions to this topic ....

(th)

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#5 2021-07-14 19:39:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: The lowly Leaf

Birch sap used for the syrup was a new item for me as my state has that tree as a state item as declared...
https://statesymbolsusa.org/symbol-offi … hite-birch

other trees for sap
27 Trees To Tap For Syrup - Practical Self Reliance

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#6 2021-07-14 20:11:30

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,744
Website

Re: The lowly Leaf

How-To: Turn Sap and Syrup into Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Birch Beer

Although many of us have probably heard of birch beer, few people actually know what it is. Historically, the sap from black birch (Betula lenta) trees was used to produce a non-alcoholic, carbonated beverage similar to root beer. There were also some regions that created alcoholic versions of the product, but this was the exception rather than the norm. The vast majority of birch beer on the market today uses artificial flavoring and sweeteners to create a carbonated soda with a unique flavor reminiscent of wintergreen. Some manufacturers claim that they use birch oil that has been distilled from the sap of birch trees, though this seems highly unlikely.

I suspect most of the flavoring agents are chemically synthesized or come from the bark and other parts of the tree rather than the sap.
...
Boreal Bounty is another company from the Manitoba region that specializes in birch wine and other boreal forest products. Started in 2005 by Doug Eryou in conjunction with the D. D. Leobard Winery of Winnipeg, they developed a wine called Tansi derived from birch sap. In addition to their standard birch sap wine, they also have a wide range of products that use the extracts of other boreal trees and plants. Their list of wines includes birch sap mixed with cherry, lingonberry, sea buckthorn, cranberry, and Saskatoon. They also utilize the sap of boxelders— the only species of maple growing in Manitoba.

It's amazing how you can have influence some times. I met a friend in his home. He had someone else there, someone I never met before. We spoke over the kitchen table. This other guy said he worked for a local winery. My friend thought we should meet since I have an interest in wine, and make home-made wine using grapes I grow in my backyard. This guy said they're struggling, need to find something unique. So I told him about birch syrup, and asked why he doesn't make wine from birch syrup. His eyes went wide. I didn't hear anything more, but then saw birch wine on shelves at the liquor store. Yes, that guy worked for D. D. Leobard Winery of Winnipeg. Sales reps at liquor stores in Winnipeg told me this was very popular the first couple years it was out. They had difficulty keeping it in stock.

Ps. I also mentioned that I saw a documentary called "Guns, Germs, and Steel". The historian emphasized that economies do well when they utilize local native food products, not imported ones. Here in Manitoba we have blueberry, raspberry, wild strawberry, Saskatoon berry (aka Juneberry), cranberry, huckleberry, sarsaparilla (for root beer), lingonberry (aka cowberry, partridgeberry, mountain cranberry or foxberry), and cloudberry. Cloudberry is prized by Norse countries: Norway, Sweeden, Iceland. Manitoba has a strong connection with Iceland, perhaps we could export wine or liqueur there. Hmm...
1f0e0978-7931-4cb7-9533-9f970165eeaf.jpg

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