This morning I learned something that has shaken me to the core! Maybe I am amused and shaken to the core easily but this bit of information has implications that make my brain implode with the possibilities.
And what has so rocked me as to render me giddy?
The fact that the plants I grow and eat are made of sunlight.
Whoa! I feel faint just thinking about it!!!
You see, I, like many other people, took it for granted that all plants were made from the minerals and nutrients from the soil. I suppose that if I had really thought about it, hydroponic plants could have cued me on this.
Yes, I knew that photosynthesis was instrumental in the creation of energy for the plant but I did not know that photosynthesis MADE the plant itself.
That the plants are NOT made from the stuff from the soil (at least not substantially) was proven a long time ago by a Flemish (Flemish=Belgian-Dutch. I did not know this, I had to look it up) scientist. This guy planted a tree in a container with soil and fed the tree only water for 5 years. Then he took the tree and weighed it. Then he weighed the soil. The tree weighed well over 100 pounds but the soil was only missing a few ounces!
So where did all the carbon and stuff come from to make the tree?: Sunlight, via the process we know as Photosynthesis.
Come on!….Sunlight!!!!. Carbon, Vitamins, Minerals, Lycopene, Capsaisin, and hundreds of other compounds….ALL FROM SUNLIGHT!!!!
I immediately get back to StarTrek (doesn’t everything always lead to StarTrek?) and their magical Replicators. If you have never watched StarTrek (!!!!!!), a replicator is a device that synthesizes anything out of pure energy. Captain Pickard’s favorite thing to conjure up from pure energy is Earl Grey tea, cup and all.
Couldn’t we, the smart inventive mammals in this planet, figure out how the plants do this and recreate the process? Couldn’t we?
PHOTOSYNTHESIS, THE FUTURE IS YOU.
I guess I should have been paying attention during Biology class. It turns out that the process noted above, although still impressive, is not what I originally thought. The plant DOES NOT convert sunlight into stuff, rather, the plant, via photosynthesis, takes the carbon from the carbon dioxide in the air and turns into stuff. That is why plants are good for the atmosphere; they take Carbon Dioxide and return Oxygen. Sixth graders know this, now I do as well.