Plants ‘n stuff

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So week two is basically over. Or at least classes are finished for the week. We covered plants over the past four days and I think I know way more about cereal grains now than I would ever have expected to know in my whole life. Every week we have different professors from the university teaching us about what they are passionate about and they are some of the sweetest people I have ever met. We are constantly being fed. I ate so much today because I kept being offered more and more food; it’s really hard to say no to the Polish. If we didn’t walk as much as we do, I probably would be five pounds heavier by now.

Anyway, plants. I will cut it short and just talk about today and yesterday because I enjoyed them the most. Wednesday we learned about fungus! Which isn’t a plant really, but they grow on plants and I guess that is the relevance. But I love fungus. No joke. I got so excited because we got to use light microscopes to look at spores and stuff. Say what you will but microbes are really freaking cool. The focus of fungus day was really about mycotoxins that some species can release that are extremely harmful to people and animals. I’m totally not paranoid or anything… I may just check all my food for spores from now on. photoThe second half of Wednesday was about genetics, essentially. Another thing I love. (Yesterday was awesome!) The professors talked about how they use PCR, polymerase chain reaction, in order to make a few million copies of a strand of DNA. They then use gel electrophoresis as well as other methods in order to check that DNA for certain things compared to their control. I find all this lab work very interesting, so I have been thinking about possibly doing research over the next year in genetics for someone at Tarleton if I can swing it.

Today was a little rainy and cold which was a bit of a damper, but it was fun nevertheless. Poland has these government run testing centers in the different regions of Poland that make genetically modified plants, as well as do testing on crops to see which species work best in this area of Poland. Everything here is highly regulated. Seeds have to go through the testing center first before they can be used in the region, and they also test how much fungicide and fertilizer the farmer will need to have successful crops using the minimum amount possible. It was quite interesting to see. (They work with ornamental plants like flowers too, hence all the pictures of flowers

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