RE: plants as chemical factories

From: Barbara Lamar (
Date: Sat Feb 17 2001 - 12:19:36 MST

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Purdue scientists have cloned a gene that
spurs plants to produce chemicals used in making plastics.

 The gene, found in the commonly studied plant Arabadopsis, reportedly does
not damage the health of its carrier and may lead to biodegradable plastics.
By turning plants into chemical factories of sorts, the new gene could make
plastic products cheaper and less environmentally damaging.

 "Plants are chemical factories that make important compounds, pigments,
medicinally important drugs and other types of chemical material using the
energy in the sun," explained biochemist Clint Chapple of Purdue University,
West Lafayette, Ind. "Simply put, they are an environmentally and
economically friendly way of doing chemistry."

 Chapple told United Press International he discovered the gene while
studying how plants produce chemical compounds that protect them from
ultraviolet light...

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