Why Do Plants Need Fertilizers?

Plants are also considered as living beings of nature just like humans, animals and other living stock. Just like how we humans need extra vitamin, calcium and other supplements apart from our normal intake of nutrition to stay healthy, plants need fertilizers to grow and stay healthy. In order for the plants to grow, they need a number of chemical elements. Let us find out how fertilizers work.

Important Elements That Plants Need
Plants need carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which are available in plenty from air and water.
Besides these, they need nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, iron, cobalt, manganese, molybdenum and zinc as add on for their growth.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are considered as building blocks for cells in the plants as without them the plants cannot grow and will not be in a position to build cells.

How Do Fertilizers Work
In some cases, plants find it difficult to find all the macronutrients from the soil itself
and this hinders with their growth. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are found from the decay of plants that have already died. Nitrogen is found from dead to living plants and is the only source found in the soil. Fertilizers provide all the important elements in a readily available form.

Also when the fertilizers are added to the plants, they have to just synthesize them as opposed to making an effort to break them down into the desired form. As a result the synthesizing is quick and the plants grow faster and better.

Each bag of fertilizer has numbers written on them. These numbers indicate the amount of available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in each bag.

So next time if the plants in your garden don’t bear flowers, you know what you are suppose to do.

Vanilla As A Natural Mosquito Repellent

After they mate, female mosquitoes need to feed on blood to provide the necessary nutrition to allow her eggs to mature. Mosquito bites are not only itchy and irritating, but mosquitoes can also potentially carry dangerous diseases such as West Nile virus. It is important to protect yourself from mosquito bites, and many tout vanilla as an effective, natural mosquito repellent.

According to the University of Wisconsin, two published studies and one informal study tested the efficacy of vanilla as a natural mosquito repellent. All found little to no repellent activity in vanillin, which is the primary component of vanilla bean extract.

The two published studies cited by the University of Wisconsin tried adding vanillin to some commercially available mosquito repellents. While ineffective as a mosquito repellent on its own, vanillin proved to be useful in increasing the efficacy of other repellents.

Much of the evidence regarding the effectiveness of vanilla as a mosquito repellent is anecdotal. Some outdoor enthusiasts maintain that vanilla is the most effective repellent they have ever used. However, most major medical studies, including a 2002 study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicate that plant oil-based repellents are far less effective than those containing N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET.

Because scientific studies indicate that natural remedies such as vanilla are not effective at repelling mosquitoes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you use products containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus for maximum mosquito bite prevention.

Manufacturers are looking for more reliable sources of flavor and fragrance ingredients. They now face price-swings and supply disruptions caused by natural disasters, poaching and other problems in the far-flung places where fragrant natural plant oils originate. Major flavor and fragrance houses thus are turning to biotechnology companies that use genetically engineered microbes to produce ingredients that mimic natural flavors and fragrances.

The microbes can produce vanillin, for instance, which is the stuff of vanilla, and picrocrocin, normally extracted from saffron, which costs about $900 a pound. Microbial production has another advantage aside from reliability, Bomgardner notes: It reduces the cost of such otherwise rare and expensive ingredients.

Besides, according to University of Wisconsin, catnip oil proves to be an effective mosquito repellent in studies. However, commercially available mosquito repellents still provide more protection.

What Are The Uses Of Menthol?

Menthol is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from peppermint or other mint oils. It’s used in a large number of products and features certain therapeutic qualities. They can be stored for up to three years, provided they are not exposed to high levels of heat or humidity.

The compound was first isolated from peppermint oil in 1771 in the West, but it may have been in use in Japan for much longer. Most of menthol’s uses are related to its stimulation of the skin’s cold receptors. This property makes it produce a cooling effect when inhaled or applied to the skin. Similarly to the capsaicin chemical found in hot peppers, which stimulates heat receptors, menthol does not actually change the skin’s temperature, but merely produces the sensation of temperature change.

Menthol has antiseptic properties, which means it can be effective in killing germs and preventing infection. Because of this, it is often added to oral hygiene products, such as toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash. It can kill the germs that cause bad breath and leave the mouth with a cool feeling. Menthol can also be used to lessen the pain of a toothache.

Practitioners of homeopathic medicine believe that menthol can interfere with the effectiveness of these remedies, and some even go so far as to advise against the use of mint toothpaste. The idea may be rooted in the fact that African American smokers have both a higher incidence of cigarette-related cancers and a higher preference for menthol cigarettes than smokers of other backgrounds. There is no evidence these two statistics are causally related, however, and all types of cigarettes pose significant health risks.

Menthol’s cooling properties work to ease the pain of sunburn. It can also be used as a topical cream to reduce itching. Some shampoos, lotions and lip balms contain menthol. The chemical can be used to alleviate congestion in the nasal passages and in the chest. It thins the mucus and loosens it, making it easier for the body to expel it. Menthol is also effective at easing the pain of a sore throat. Cold relief products such as Vicks VapoRub, certain cough drops, and some types of facial tissue contain menthol.

Menthol has very low toxicity, although poisoning is possible if large quantities are consumed. Any ill effects from its use are extremely rare. Many people around the world enjoy its cooling sensation in gum, candy, lip gloss, and other products.

What Is Derris?

Derris is the common name used to refer to a number of species of the genus Derris and the family Fabaceae, also known as the bean or legume family. These plants are also referred to by the names tuba or tuba root and poison vine. Derris plants are climbing vines that contain a poisonous chemical called rotenone. The plants are often cultivated for this poison, which is used commercially as an insecticide. Some species of Derris plants are also considered to be invasive weeds that prey on trees like acacia and eucalyptus.

These plants are often parasitic, using large trees as hosts, which they climb and simultaneously strangle. Their vines can reach lengths of up to 52 feet (16 meters). Derris plants have small, sparse leaves called leaflets that are covered in tiny hairs. They also typically have flowers, usually pink or white in color, which are used to create bridal wreathes in some parts of southeast Asia. In the wild, the vines also grow oval fruits that resemble bright green pea pods. When cultivated commercially, the plants seldom produce fruit.

Derris vines are native to eastern and southeastern Asia, and grow wild in Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, China, and India. The plants are also grown for commercial reasons in many of these countries, and are also cultivated for use as insecticides and pesticides in America and parts of Africa. When Derris grows wild, it is usually found along roadsides, riverbanks, or on the outskirts of forested areas.

The poison found in most parts of these vines is called rotenone (CAS No. is 83-79-4), a chemical that is also found in a number of other vine plants, such as the jicama and the barbasco. Due to the fact that it is not absorbed efficiently when applied to the skin or ingested, this toxin is relatively harmless to humans, although a large dose could be potentially fatal to a child. Rotenone is dangerous or fatal to many species of fish and insects because it deprives their cells of energy.

Due to its efficacy in killing insects, rotenone is often used as an insecticide. It is also sometimes used by fishermen to kill or temporarily immobilize fish and shellfish. The bodies of the stunned or dead fish then float to the surface of the water, making it easy for the fishermen to bring them in. This practice of using poison for fishing is illegal in many parts of the world due to its detrimental effects on the environment.