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Issue no. 97 | December 2020

Cover story

Insectivorous plants
How do they catch their prey and digest their food?

Vegetation is the base of food-chain of all the living beings but hundreds of species of vegetation devour insects and other small creatures for a healthy life.

Sunlight, water and air constitute the main ‘diet’ of the vegetation. Using the energy absorbed from the sunlight it converts them into carbohydrates (starch and glucose), protein and also fat by means of the chemical process known as photosynthesis. In other words the vegetation converts sunlight, water and air into chemical energy and this process takes place directly at the level of cells, the basic biological units, without the need for digestive system of any kind. However, sunlight, water and air alone do not constitute the complete ‘diet’ of the vegetation. It also needs minerals like nitrogen, calcium, phosphate and iron for nourishment. Nitrogen is required for the manufacture of protein and calcium for building a strong cell membrane. Phosphates build up nucleic acid or the genetic material in the cells whereas iron is essential for chlorophyll or the green pigments in the leaves that absorb sunlight for photosynthesis.

More interesting articles

The volcanic eruption that left 30,000 dead--and a lone survivor

There is a small idyllic Island named Martinique (75 kilometres long and maximum 25 kilometres wide) in the West Indies with a volcano named Mt. Pelée situated in the north. In 1902 it became temperamental all of a sudden after having remained dormant for some decades. The pressure of steam and lava building up in its belly made it highly unstable. As it belched sulphurous yellow steam from its summit like a hissing Chinese dragon, a shiver went all over that 1,397 metres (4,583 feet) high volcano.

Why did computer’s QWERTY keyboard become a torture chamber?

Some years ago a proposal was mooted in the European Union having a common market, common currency, and even a common parliament; that its member countries should discard the archaic QWERTY keyboard of the computers and adopt DVORAK instead. In view of the rapid increase in the number of PCs it was felt that it was the ideal opportunity for redressing the long continuing blunders.

The Maldives: Here today, gone tomorrow

Global warming, in one way or the other, is badly affecting many a nation. However, the fate of the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean is more serious than any others. The very existence of this sea-locked nation is in danger. Although one would hardly associate the ill-fated super liner Titanic with the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Maldives, they both are part of a hidden irony that is likely to emerge in not too distant future. 


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