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Saturday, November 15, 2003

Oh Yeah, That's Useful

One of my favorite blogs, Second Nature, has a post on what may be the weirdest idea in agriculture (from the Sun-Times):

An Oregon scientist inspired by Homer Simpson has successfully created "tomacco" -- a tomato plant that contains nicotine.

I remember that episode! But, ah, I think Matt Groening was joking around, dude.

Baur grew the plants again, this time hollowing a portion of each out and grafting them together. The plant took form, and after weeks of pruning, he now has a large tobacco root that has sprouted a tomato branch. The branch has yielded one ripe fruit, and tests have shown the leaves contain nicotine -- the fruit will be tested for nicotine today. The scientist says he expects the fruit will contain much higher levels of the addictive ingredient. ... But Baur is having a Dr. Frankenstein moment, noting that nicotine, when ingested orally, can be fatal to humans at levels higher than 150 milligrams. He fears his tomacco plant contains "multiple fatal doses."

"I grew this thing, and then I thought, 'Now what am I going to do with it?'"

Perhaps it would have been better to have thought of that before spending four years attempting to develop the long-awaited "Tomacco", or perhaps better, "Homer's Folly". Steve at Second Nature has a suggestion, but you'll have to check his blog out to see it.

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11:25 PM in Science | Permalink


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