Tanning / Defense - Simply put, the hydrogen bonds within the leaves are like a slinky held open by tooth picks. When tanning take places the tooth picks are removed and the slinky collapses. Now the enzymes (which are like keys) cannot get in, such as the case of the plight of the koalas. My point, when trees are threatened and or injured “THEY DO SOMETHING”, they respond! More specific, when proteins are tanned by phenols, the molecules look like a collapsed slinky toy. Once collapsed, enzymes cannot get in to break down the molecules. Tanning is a chemical process of combining phenol-based substances with proteins, and the disruption of hydrogen bonds leaves the protein indigestible.
(See for the story of the Koala - A TOUCH OF CHEMISTRY, SHIGO, 1996 for starters)
(See MODERN ARBORICULTURE, SHIGO, 1991).
Text & Graphics Copyright © 2007 Keslick & Son Modern Arboriculture
Please report web site problems, comments and words of interest, not found.