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BIO-PHARMING WITH PLANTS
controversy over possible safety issues, plant or agricultural biotechnology
appears to produce better health and a cleaner, safer environment.
NSF-funded and other government agency research is helping farmers produce
food with less pesticide residues, which results in cleaner and safer
Lactose intolerance and other food-related ailments could become a thing
of the past if allergens in milk
and wheat products
are eliminated or greatly reduced. Vegetables with higher vitamin E content
are expected to help
fight heart disease,while
an improved strain of rice with enhanced levels of vitamin A and iron
will help battle nutritional deficiencies in many people's diets.
An example of recent plant pharmaceuticals is taxol, a secondary plant
product derived from the bark or needles of the Pacific Yew tree. Taxol
has been found to be effective against certain types of cancer. A synthetic
form of taxol is being developed, with the goal of producing larger quantities
of taxol and reducing damage or destruction to Pacific Yew trees.
Plastic soda bottles and packaging peanuts found on beaches, riverbeds
or mountain trails may no longer be seen as unsightly trash as new forms
of plastic may soon allow these items tobiodegrade