Letter | Published:

Conservation of Rainfall as Carbohydrates

Nature volume 128, page 378 (29 August 1931) | Download Citation



WHEN a good rain falls on arid country of high temperature, the growth of plant life is truly remarkable. But in a short time this verdure loses its moisture to dry winds and hot sunshine and becomes well desiccated. A point I have not seen mentioned is that a fraction of the rainfall (which I hope to determine approximately) is locked up in carbohydrate molecules, safe from sun and wind and available for animal life. Thus, anhydrous glucose when oxidised in the body will furnish 60 per cent of its weight as water and cellulose 56 per cent. Unless this is taken into account, animal life in the desert remote from water-holes is inexplicable.

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  1. Faculty of Medicine, University, Melbourne, July 8.

    • W. A. OSBORNE


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