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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/737

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721
GENUINE STARCH FACTORIES.

Fig. 5 is an attempt to present the above statements as to photo-synthesis in plants in such a form that it may appeal to the eye of the reader. A bit of maple twig is shown with one leaf in position. Passing up the stem in the young wood is PSM V56 D0737 Magnified leaf illustrating photosynthesis.pngFig. 6.—Portion of Leaf Magnified, Illustrating Photo-Synthesis. the crude sap from the soil to the leaf. There is a downward flow of elaborated sap in the inner bark also represented. Solar energy is indicated by the wave lines as playing upon the upper side of the leaf, while the direction of the carbon dioxide is shown by the dotted lines entering from both above and below the leaf. Water of transporation is indicated as being given off, and upon a dry, hot day this is considerable, which, as it vaporizes in the tissue, tends to keep the latter cool. Lastly, with the formation of starch there is the escape of oxygen set free from the broken molecule of carbon dioxide or water or both in the formation of the starch.

Fig. 6 is a similar attempt to show the process of starch formation with the use of a portion of the leaf in section as it might appear under the microscope. The under portion of the leaf is seen as having openings in the skin, through which the gases and vapors pass, and the middle portion above shows the porous nature of that part that is most active in synthesis. The small oval bodies in all the cells, except those of the upper and under epidermis, represent the chlorophyll granules, the special seat of the special activities which result in the formation of the carbohydrate, familiar to all as starch. To the right is a leaf vein, through which the crude sap (c. s.) reaches the synthetic cells, and the elaborated sap (e. s.) descends to places where it is needed for growth or for storage.

With the above facts in mind, there is no wonder at the activity that may reside in a field of corn during a bright day in August. Starch is being made almost by the ton daily, and, if the conditions favor, the next month will find a rich harvest for the husbandman who has assisted in supplying the conditions for the desired output of the leading carbohydrate.

The genuine starch factories of the world are exceedingly