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February 18, 1994 - Image 106

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-02-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BUSINESS

Presenting the
Chrysler LHS.

Imagine a car that combines the performance of a
sports car and the comfort of a luxury sedan.
That car is the Chrysler LHS. Four-wheel disc
antilock brakes , computerized low-speed traction
control and driver and front passenger airbags.*

What else can be asked of a car?

Over 56 in-stock for immediate delivery.

CHRYSLER

Pl ym ou t h

41■-

CHRYSLER • PLYMOUTH

24315 H gerty Road • Between Ten Mile and Grand River • Novi

(810) 476-7900

Market Fact

m

ore than two-thirds of employed Jewish News subscribers
are in professional or managerial positions.

Job Title
Top management
(president, CEO, chairman, partner, etc.

24%

Other top management positions

46%

Source: 1993 Simmons Jewish News Study

40

THE JEWISH NEWS

Better Plants
For Arid Sectors

Rehovot, Israel —Agricultural
crops resistant to strong sun-
light may one day be cultivated
in some of the hottest and most
drought-ridden parts of the
world thanks to recent findings
of Weizmann Institute re-
searchers, summarized in the
Journal of Biological Chemistry.
The scientists have unrav-
eled the protective mechanism
allowing a particularly sturdy
salt-water algae to thrive in
scoring sunlight. In the future,
it may be possible to manipu-
late a similar mechanism in
higher plants, including crops,
in order to enhance their resis-
tance to the sun, according to
Professor Ada Zamir of the In-
stitute's Department of Bio-
chemistry.
The mechanism was deci-
phered by Professor Zamir
together with department
members Haim Levy, Tamar
Tal, Dr. Aviv Shaish, Dr. Irena
Gokhman and Dr. Amnon Lers.
The researchers studied the
sun-protection mechanism in
Dunaliella bardawil, a micro-
scopic algae that grows in salty
waters. The single-cell organ-
ism is known for its legendary
resistance to the salt and sun,
which allows it to thrive in the
brackish marshes of the Sinai
desert and even in the Dead
Sea. The algae was first isolat-
ed from the Bardawil marsh in
Sinai by the late Institute Pro-
fessor Mordhay Avron, who pi-
oneered the study of its unique
properties.
The Dunaliella algae fasci-
nates scientists because it is
both a remarkable survivor and
functionally very similar to
higher plants. These two prop-
erties make it an excellent
model for studying survival
strategies that may be relevant
for growing useful crops under
harsh conditions, according to
Professor Zamir.
Excessive sunlight causes
most plants to produce toxic
oxygen molecules that damage
and eventually destroy the
plant's photosynthetic machin-
ery. Professor Zamir and her as-
sociates have discovered a
protein, now known as Cbr, that
is formed whenever this ma-
chinery is threatened. Using
methods of genetic engineering,
the researchers have cloned the
gene coding of this protein.
They have further observed
a close link between Cbr and a
carotenoid pigment called zeax-
anthin, also formed under the
stressful conditions of intense
light. The scientists have
reached the conclusion that pro-
tein binds with the pigment to

Prof. Ada Zamir

form a light-protective "anten-
na" or "lightning rod," which di-
verts the excessive, harmful
light from the sensitive compo-
nents of the photosynthetic ma-
chinery. At the same time the
algae is producing Cbr and
zeaxinthin, it forms large quan-
tities of beta-carotene, an or-
ange pigment that also serves
as the plant's natural sun-
screen.
While in Dunaliella this re-
sponse is most dramatic, light-
protective "antennae" formed

The algae forms a
pigment which is
the plant's natural
sunscreen.

by zeaxanthin and proteins sim-
ilar to Cbr operate in most —
and perhaps all — higher
plants. Now that the mecha-
nism of this natural "sunscreen"
is understood, it may be possi-
ble to enhance it in agriculural
crops.
Professor Zamir holds the
Carl and Dorothy Bennett
Chair of Biochemistry. The re-
search was supported by grants
from the Minerva and the Ger-
man-Israel Foundations.
The Weizmann Institute of
Science, in Rehovot, Israel, is
one of the world's foremost cen-
ters of scientific research and
graduate study. Its 2,300 sci-
entists, students, technicians
and engineers pursue basic re-
search in the quest for knowl-
edge and the enhancement of
the human condition. New
ways of fighting disease and
hunger, protecting the envi-
ronment, and harnessing al-
ternative sources of energy are
high priorities. I I

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