Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunflowers vs. AIDS

German scientists have found a mold-fighting compound in Helianthus that may also fight HIV.


‘Sunflower Dreams’

Photo: Lunar Fractals

At the University of Bonn, ag engineers and biotech scientists believe they have uncovered an antibody in sunflowers that can prevent the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS.

“White stem rot” is deadly to most sunflowers, but some plants manage to fight off the disease, thanks to their production of “dicaffeoyl quinic acid.” This same compound, “can prevent the HI virus from reproducing, at least in cell cultures,” says Claudio Cerboncini, of the Caesar research center. At this point, no one knows whether this sunflower antibody will combat the AIDS virus in a clinical setting. But the researchers have said this compound may open the way for a whole new class of drugs, with fewer side effects.

Medical science already had known of dicaffeoyl quinic acid but until this finding, the compound was thought to be too rare and expensive to warrant further trials. “By using the Bonn method it could probably be produced for a fraction of the costs.”

imageSunflower infected with Sclerotina

Photo: Agritel

Sclerotina has caused disasters for sunflower farmers, but the struggle against it may prove a huge boon to humankind.

“The United Nations forecasts that a minimum 45 million people in developing countries will be infected with HIV/Aids by 2010.” In South Africa alone 370,000 people die of AIDS each year. For much more news about AIDS worldwide, see the World AIDS News.

Posted by Julie on 01/30 at 06:04 PM