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Describe the benefits of plants to society and in what contexts plants are mentioned in Scripture.
Benefits: clothing, O2/CO2, food, medicine, biofuel, prevent erosion, habitats, aesthetic value, water source, construction material, shade, temperature regulation, nitrogen fixation, paperContext plants are mentioned in scripture: Used in teaching lessons and truths because plants were familiar to people, used in sacrifices, The Garden of Eden, John’s vine and branches story, bearing fruit, reaping what you sow etc.
Instrumental value: they are of economic or ecological usefulness, an anthropocentric ethic
Example: NYC Watershed project. Delivers 1.3 billion gallons of high quality drinking water to 9 million NY’ers every day. A network of 19 reservoirs as far away as 125 miles from NYC
Intrinsic value: because they exist they have value regardless of usefulness
Example: Creation Care: being good stewards (Genesis 2:15 – abad (serve) and shamar (keep)) of the world
Describe the scientific method, its uses, what it results in, and its limitations.
It’s tentative, falsifiable, international and repeatable. It results in laws or theories. Science is a way of knowing, but not the only way of knowing
Compare botany as a science to other scientific disciplines such as physics, chemistry, wildlife biology, and human medicine.
Botany is not restricted by the “rights” of the plants
Must understand other sciences to understand botany
Easier to do a study with plants
Fewer interpretations with Botany (quantitative)Botany is less funded and understudied
When was a shift from foraging to farming observed historically? How else is information regarding the origins of agriculture reconstructed? What are the societal impacts of establishing predictable and repeatable agricultural practices?
-10,000 years ago (8,000 BC), shift from foraging to farming
-Archeologists are able to find fossilized food (both plant and animal) remains. Plants are identified by charred seeds, preserved fruits or other plant parts. Animals are identified by bones, teeth, feathers, scale, fur and shells. Coprolites are fossilized fecal materials, which gives direct evidence of the diet. Also tools for hunting and preparing food.
-You see population growth because there becomes means to have a dependable food source that can be easily grown
Describe key differences between wild and domesticated plant varieties. What does the presence of crops with a non-shattering head indicate?
Describe techniques used in the field of forensic botany and at least two examples of criminal cases that have benefitted from this information.
Finding phytoliths (crystals formed and found in many plants), which can be used to identify the plant, genus and possible species. They can detect poisoning from plants by analyzing leaves or fruits or stomach contents.
1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann: accused and convicted of kidnapping and murdering the young Lindbergh boy. A forensic botanist was able to tell that the wooden ladder used to get to the boy’s window was made from planks in Hauptmann’s attic.
Used to dispute the testimony of an accused rapist. Fragments of tree leaves and bark in his pant cuff indicated that the accused had climbed a tree to get into a window of the victim’s home.
What are the most important crops worldwide?
10)Plantains, 9)Yams, 8)Sorghum, 7)Sweet Potatoes, 6)Soybeans, 5)Cassava, 4)Potatoes, 3)Rice, 2)Wheat, 1)Corn
There are sites where the remains of both plants and animals date back 9,000 to 14,000 years. Animals were domesticated before plants. Barley was the first crop domesticated in the near east. This place has an area called the fertile crescent. Important agricultural crops: barley, einkorn wheat, emmer wheat, pea, lentil, vetch
Archeologists found rice grains, husks, plant remains and impressions of rice grains in pottery. These sites are right around the Yangtze and Yellow River Basins. Important agricultural crops: rice, foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, rape, hemp
Soil sediments indicate that the area was subjected to accelerated forest clearing. There are remains of stakeholes and postholes. There is the Kuk Swamp. Important agricultural crops: banana, taro, starch grains.
Archeologists have found ancient corn cobs, stone tools, textiles and pottery. They had the Tehuacan Valley. Important agricultural crops: squash, corn, chili pepper, amaranth, avocado, gourds, beans, white potatoes, sweet potatoes
Describe key biological characteristics of Family Poaceae.
-Herbacous, linear leaves, alternate with parallel venation
-sheath at base of stem
-stems – culms
-stolons vs. rhizomes
-most cereals = annuals → replanted yearly
-most pasture/lawn grasses = perennials → come back on own-fibrous root
Chaff: bracts surrounding flower
Bran: outer wall (fruit wall fused to seed coat)
Aleurone layer: interior to bran
Majority of seed is endosperm which stores food for developing embryo as starch
What is the difference between white flour, corn starch, and white rice and whole-grain products?
White flour, corn starch and white rice: the chaff, germ and bran are removed – leaving only the starchy endospermWhole grain products: only the chaff is removed and the entire grain is used.
Wheat: Spikes tightly packed with grains, Ukraine & US & Canada & China, non-shattering head selected for
Uses: two types – durum & bread wheat
Corn: separate carpels & staminate inflouresences, detasseling, types popcorn & flint & flour & dent & sweet & waxy & pod
Uses: animal feed, ethanol
Rice: large multi-stalked annual, presence of air chamber in stem permits diffusion of air from stomata into leaves through stem, can survive in water logged soil
Know why and how farmers detassel corn.
Farmers detassel corn in order to prevent cross breeding between corn plants. They detassel corn by cutting off the tassel (staminate inflorescence).
The potato was a dietary staple for the irish peasent, small plots could yield enough potatoes to feed a family. The introduction and success of the potato led to a population explosion. Then a lethal pathogen of the potato (Phytophthora infestans), which causes the disease late blight of potato. This can kill a plant within a week. It first appeared in Ireland in August 1845. In 4 years over 1 million people dies, 1.5 million immigrated to foreign countries.
It could happen in the US again
Norman Borlaug (father of revolution): developed high-yield wheat cultivars in Mexico
88% increase of global food production since 1950’s, but amount of arable land is about the same
Benefit: emerging technologies generated disease-resistant varieties, higher yield, more responsive to fertilizers and irrigation. More intense farming practices
Costs: biomagnification; high yielding and disease resistant crops highly dependant on fertilizer, pesticides, adequate water and mechanized farming; practices not always feasible in lesser developed countries; increase dependence upon MDCs for imported material and aid; loss of genetic variation in crop plants (monoculture); rapid evolution of new pests
Explain the costs and benefits of monoculture practices and the costs of benefits of no-till farming.
Growing same crop year after year in a large region
Benefits: a single person can farm more land, larger farms, machinery specialized to perform a single job; productivity maximized; less need to rotate crops for nutrient or pest benefits
Costs: potential to deplete ground water and pollute it with nitrates and Ag chemicals; increased soil erosion and salinization (irrigation water has small amounts of salt that are left behind and make soil less fertile over time)
Describe evidence for and against genetically modified food – do you support the use of these products? Should they be labelled as such or not? Why?
Cons: not tested thoroughly (safety tests as short as 90 days); rats fed diet of GM soy and corn may lead to liver and kidney problems; producing genotypes that could never exist in nature; lead to more monoculture and discourages diversity; possible allergens; GMOs could not interbreed with wild population; usually associated with more herbicide usePros: develop crops with higher yields, less fertilizer, less pesticides, less water and more nutrients, reduce energy input; grow crops faster than traditional breeding; been on market since 1996, very little evidence that they are harmful to humans; economic and environmental benefits
Describe Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Some movement away from “clean crop” philosophy to one that tolerates pests up to a defined level of economic injury
In theory IPM enhances populations of natural predators, also emphasizes synergistic agronomic and plant breeding practices
Still in infancy; of more interest to organic farms or community-based agriculture
Describe the biology of the Coffea arabica tree including its flowering and fruit-producing cycles.
Small evergreen tree with shiny simple leaves
Cluster of small white fragrant flowers in axils of leaves
After fertilization a berry develops into a cherry
Fleshy edible pulp with in cherry that protects 2 seeds (coffee beans)
Peaberry: 10% of cherries, have a single bean
Trees need 150-250 cm of rain per year (cool, tropical, highlands) with a stable temperature of 68̊F
Trees start bearing fruit at 3-5 years
Be able to describe coffee production from tree to brew, including the process of decaffeination.
Decaffeination: have to soak beans and create a pressure gradient to remove caffeine without removing taste
Describe differences between sun vs. shade coffee and the benefits of fair trade coffee.
Sun coffee has higher yields, although shade coffee is better for wildlife and uses less fertilizer
Fair trade coffee: farmers get at least $1.35/lb (vs. $.25 - .50/lb)
Describe the unique characteristics of Family Vitaceae (the grape family) and describe how viticulture and traditional agricultural methods differ.
Family Vitaceae: found in warm temperature of tropical areas, most members of genus Vitis with hundreds of species and varieties; woody, climbing vine, many with five-parted flowers (perfect and self-pollinating), perpetuated through cuttings, grafting and layering
- Tarwi, South American legume
- High protein and oil content that rivals the soybean
- Quality of protein is exceptionally high, rich in lysine
- When eaten with cereals, the ideal nutritional balance of essential amino acids is achieved
- Plant: branching annual, 3-8 ft. tall, with palmately compound leafs
- Large flowers
- Each fruiting pod contains 2-6 white, round seeds
- Seeds must be soaked in running water to remove bitter alkaloids
- Grows well in temperate and tropical regions, tolerates a wide range of environmental conditions (including frost & drought)
- Nitrogen-fixing legume that can be grown in poor soil qualities
-Roundup is a chemical that will kill nearly any green plant.
-Put a gene into soybeans- protects beans from round-up
-Can use a very effective chemical to kill weeds- not soybeans
inhibition of seed germination and growth of seedling within a sphere of chemical influence emanating from roots
spaces plant so they avoid competition for water
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