|MadSci Network: Botany|
Susan, Good question! I have never heard of any such association. But most medicinal plants I can think of are dicots. Dicots tend to use the C-3, not C-4, pathway. Does this mean there is a correlation? I'm not sure, but I kind of doubt it. The carbon assimilation pathway can differ between plants in the same family. The effect of different carbon assimilation pathways is primarly a change in the efficiency and not in the overall outcome of the pathway. The medicinal chemicals produced by some plants are typically secondary products not directly involved in the primary metabolic functions. While it might be interesting to dig into this question a bit deeper, my initial reply is there is no correlation between carbon assimilation pathways and the production of medicinal substances. I hope that helps! Eric Biddinger Graduate Student Department of Horticulture Penn State University
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