Re: Methanol and improved yields

In article <921031031241.MIN-LNRAa00274.bionet-news@uk.ac.daresbury> you wrote:
: [...]
: >Along more practical lines, it seems that the increased turgor is caused
: >by the higher photosynthesis making more sugar in the "noonday sun", so
: >that there is more osmotic pressure and thus turgor.  Sounds OK, but
: >there are not direct data.

I'm surprised to hear that spraying methanol (a solvent that disrupts
lipid membranes) causes an increase in turgor!  What effect does
spraying *water* have on turgor?

The accumulation of large pools of sucrose is unusual except in
monocots.  Insolulable starch is the principal storage product of
photosynthesis in many species, and active ion-transport is responsible
for regulation of turgor.  Such transport depends critically on the
integrity of the lipid membranes in the tonoplast and plasmalemma.

: >Getting even more practical...
: >If you are growing tomatoes or watermelons in the Arizona summer you have
: >to water.  From a resource use standpoint, you can apparently cut down on
: >water use by spraying methanol which is a benefit.  It also seems that it
: >is beneficial from an energy standpoint in that the energy value of the
: >methanol that is sprayed on the plants is likely to be less than the
: >energy required to pump the extra water.
: >
: >Now about those explosions:  for most of the tender-leaved vegetables,
: >10-15% methanol in water was about right.  That is not going to burn.  As
: >with _any_ spray material, it is appropriate to wear a mask to keep it
: >out of your lungs (this even applies with water), and to spray when there
: >is no wind.

So, it's true: methanol _does_ cause blindness and insanity!

Anyone who works in a lab and is aware of the toxic effects of methanol
would find it difficult to believe that you are recommending spraying
it on a crop intended for direct human consumption.  Let alone the
health of people breathing the methanol spray.

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  Tony Travis
Rowett Research Institute,            |  JANET: <ajt@uk.ac.sari.rri>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  other: <ajt@rri.sari.ac.uk>
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |  phone: 0224-712751