research.gif (2985 bytes) Dr. Gary Coté, Professor of Biology

Chemistry of Crystals

Eating Dieffenbachia is not advised.  Your mouth will swell up and you won't be able to talk or breathe.  Some people have died from eating this plant.  Usually the blame for this nastiness is laid on the crystals (seen at right), but, strangely, some plants with calcium oxalate crystals are not poisonous.  It has been proposed that nasty chemicals are present on the crystals.  We would like to test this.

But first, we have to isolate the crystals away from the rest of the cell.  Getting the cells to all shoot out their crystals in coordination has not proven easy.

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