Friday 26 June 2015

WOOD - Wide Web

Anyone who goes online are familiar with ‘www’ or the world-wide web.  How about the other ‘www’?  
Wood-wide web or mycorrhizal network is akin to the internet.  It’s a living organic network that allows the exchange of information between individual plants.  

Images: Wikimedia Commons

What does the wood-wide web do?  
Similar to the world-wide web, flora are allowed to send & receive information as well as nutrients over distances to other members of the web.  This is done via a web of fine threads called mycelium that links roots to different plants.  It’s a superhighway of fungi & all these happens underground!

Images: Wikimedia Commons - Mycelium

Besides sharing nutrients and information, sabotage too occurs.  This happens when there are unwelcomed plants.  Toxic chemicals are spread through the network to keep it away – nature’s version of cybercrime.  Now you know, it’s not just humans who sabotage each other!

What actually happens in the fungal network?  
Fungi gets its food from plants in the form of carbohydrates.  The fungi in turn help plants suck up water as well as provide nutrients via their mycelia.  This network will also boost the host plants' immune systems by triggering the production of defense-related chemicals. 

So, this indicates that plants are interdependent on each other, and NOT surviving by itself by just meeting its basic needs. 

Shared by Azni
Learning Specialist, Petrosains

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Gula 'mono' dalam kurma

Kurma terdiri daripada gula ringkas ataupun monosakarida. Monosakarida atau gula ringkas menyimpan tenaga yang boleh digunakan oleh sel-sel dalam tubuh badan kita. Gula 'mono' bermaksud ia mempunyai satu molekul sahaja. Jadi ia amat cepat terhadam untuk membekalkan tenaga pada badan kita dengan kadar segera. 

Posted by Ayu

Monday 8 June 2015

When Yummy Turns Smelly

Have you ever wondered why some people get a stomach upset after consuming milk? They will experience stomach cramps and give out a lot of gas before rushing to the toilet to relieve their bowels a few hours after drinking milk or consuming dairy products like ice cream. 

This condition is called lactose intolerance. It is not a disease; it’s just that they are not able to properly digest milk. Milk is a whole food that contains carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and salts. As for early breast milk, it additionally contains antibodies. 

The carbohydrate found in milk is called lactose, a kind of sugar. Lactose is broken down by the enzyme lactase before it enters the bloodstream. Unfortunately, for those who are lactose intolerant, they do not have this enzyme in their digestive system. Therefore, the lactose will instead be fermented by bacteria found in the gut, and this process will produce acids that cause the stomach cramps, and lots of carbon dioxide, that causes the person to give out a lot of gas, also known as flatulence. Be prepared to take in the unpleasant odours when sitting next to a person who is lactose intolerant! 

All mammals, including humans, have the enzyme lactase in their digestive system when they are being breast-fed, also called the weaning period. As they develop the ability to consume other types of food, their lactase levels in their digestive system will drop. More than ninety percent of Asian and African adults are lactose intolerant, while only five percent of Caucasian adults have this condition.
So, when you reach teenage years or adulthood, you may need to cut down on the consumption of milk and dairy products if you find yourself getting bloated, stomach cramps, and giving out a lot of gas after drinking milk. 

Experiment: To emulsify the fat molecules in milk

A flat tray, food colouring (3 different colours), whole milk, and liquid soap.

1. Pour the milk into the tray so that it covers the bottom.
2. Add about 6 – 8 drops of different coloured food colouring onto the milk at different spots.
3. Add about 5 drops of liquid soap onto the drops of food colouring and observe what happens.
4. When you drop the liquid soap onto the milk, it tries to break down the fat in the milk. This process is called emulsification. While it was doing that, it caused the colour to scatter and mix creating a very colourful display.

Lactose [lak-tohs] – a disaccharide found in milk that breaks down into glucose and galactose.
Intolerant [in-tol-er-uhnt] – unable to tolerate or endure.
Flatulent [flach-uh-luhnt] – generating gas in the alimentary canal.
Emulsify [ih-muhl-suh-fahy] – to make into or form an emulsion.

Shared by Surain A. Victor
Guest blogger