Download Plant Biotechnology (The Green World) by William G Hopkins PDF

By William G Hopkins

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This is a highly economical process in Brazil, which has a warm climate and large land area that can be devoted to growing sugar cane. Moreover, the debris that remains after the sugary juices are expressed, called bagasse, can be used as a fuel to supply steam for the distillation and to generate electricity. The situation is not so simple in North America, where the favored candidates for conversion to ethanol are starch and cellulose. Both require (continued on page 44) 44 Plant Biotechnology (continued from page 43) enzymatic breakdown to release the sugars for fermentation, which requires additional energy, and, unlike sugar cane, the residues from corn and wheat straw have negligible fuel value.

If the effluent contains heavy metals, these may also be removed by plants that grow in the artificial wetland. We will return to this interesting property of plants in chapter 3. Bacteria are now being used extensively to treat industrial wastes other than sewage and to clean up contaminated groundwater. The use of living organisms such as bacteria to clean up environmental sites contaminated with chemical pollutants is known as bioremediation (bio meaning “living” and remediation meaning “to correct a fault”).

Like the information in your hard drive, the information in DNA is stored in discrete blocks or addresses. These blocks or addresses are called genes. In a computer, the information needed to perform specific operations is downloaded into the RAM, which is where the instructions in the software are actually carried out. In the cell, the information contained in the gene (the DNA) is downloaded into ribonucleic acid (RNA) which, in turn, directs the synthesis of the proteins that make the cell function.

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