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Insectivorous plants

Bill Williams WEWilliams at osprey.smcm.edu
Fri Mar 24 16:59:53 EST 2000

At 18:06 +0000 3/24/00, David Haas wrote:
>Question:  Do insectivorous plants get anything other than nitrogen from
>the animal material they capture?  In other words could one of these
>plants live exclusively on what it catches and not need chloroplasts.
>Anybody have any info or thoughts about this?  I assume that plants
>would not have the enzymes necessary for converting the animal proteins
>and carbohydrates into useable carbohydrates for plants - that the
>nitrates and other minerals (are there other minerals?) that are used
>result from bacterial decomposition.  Just wondering.
>D. Haas

Ummm...  I know there's been some work done on this, and I think they 
do just get nitrogen. The work is old and fairly primitive -- I 
believe they demonstrated that sundews wouldn't grow in the dark no 
matter how many fruit flies you fed them. Here's the only reference I 
have right at hand:

Chandler B, Anderson J. 1976. Studies on the nutrition and growth of 
Drosera species with reference to the carnivorous habit. New 
Phytologist 76:129-141.


William E. Williams
Biology Department
Saint Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd.
Saint Mary's City, MD  20686-3001

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