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More Than Just A Weed
Purslane isnít your ordinary weed. Long appreciated by foragers as a super health food, itís now being explored for drought resistance. Itís been used widely as a food crop for people and animals and is recognized as a rich source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, and antioxidants. It can also soothe skin and treat wounds.
  If all that wasnít enough, itís effective at removing salts from contaminated soils and it can endure droughts. In fact, it thrives in the heat of the summer. This is thanks to two types of photosynthetic pathways. Yale University professor Erica Edwards describes it as having a rare combination of traits.
  Edwards is researching how the traits, called CAM and C4 photosynthesis, allow purslane to remain productive under high temperatures and survive in deserts and other areas with very little water. The team of Yale researchers has shown the two traits are totally integrated in the same cells. Understanding how they work together offers the potential of adding CAM photosynthesis to a C4 crop like corn, giving it similar drought resistance.


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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6