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31 mai 2009 7 31 /05 /mai /2009 09:42

Mushroom coral.
Mushroom coral.

Corals and Medicine

 Name: Kiara Status: student Grade: 4-5 Location: NY Country: USA Question: How do corals make medicine? --------------------------------------- I don't think it is correct to say that corals MAKE medicines. What corals, and many other animals do, is manufacture chemicals within their bodies which allow then to have some advantages in terms of staying alive and being able to reproduce within their environment. Corals are stationery animals - Once they settle onto a piece of rock, or a ship wreck, or even a piece of floating wood, they must live in the same spot all the rest of their lives, competing with other corals and other animals both big and small. Chemicals may help them to do that. All corals keep living alga within their bodies - making food whenever the sun shines. I got a free meal, you didn't - I win!! All corals manufacture a shell of limestone by extracting carbonates from the water. I've got a shell - you haven't - I win!! Some corals produce small amounts of chemicals which they release into the water, which make it difficult for other corals to bond themselves to the rock nearby. The chemical from the first coral interferes with the 'glue' of the second. I'm here first I win!! Corals may retain chemicals in their bodies which make then taste bad - or perhaps even smell bad - to larger fish. You got eaten, I didn't - I win!! When corals release their eggs into the water they may also release a chemical which is able to slow down the swimming of other eggs. You're too slow - I win!! This chemical warfare being waged amongst the corals is part of evolution and the fight for survival. For us humans however, it turns out that sometimes the 'unglue' chemical is just what is needed to stop cold viruses from attaching to the lining of your nose. Or the bad taste chemical may be able to dissolve the coating of a bacterium, and so kills it, Or the slow down chemical may also be able to slow down the reproduction of bacteria within a wound. We would call all of these chemicals antibiotics - and we would be able to use them as medicines. The challenge for all of us now is to locate as many as possible of these useful chemicals before we kill all the corals off with pollution, reef degradation, global warming and silting. Nigel Skelton Tennant Creek High School AUSTRALIA  

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  • : La confédération des Iflisen Umellil
  • : Un des objectifs est de reconstituer la grande confédération qui regroupait les 14 aarchs des Iflisen Umellil avant la colonisation française. Le but est de rétablir les liens interrompus et de promouvoir la solidarité inter-arche. Nous visons également à consolider les liens entre la diaspora et leur région d'origine. Réecrire l'histoire des Iflisen et préserver leur patrimoine matériel et immatériel .
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