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Nature's Toxins Vs, Man's Ingenuity Essay

1241 words - 5 pages

Nature has many toxins it uses to protect itself against predators. Toxins in nature can either kill humans or can do damage to the body. In the animal and plant kingdom there are toxins deadly to humans, but we have found ways to combat some of them. How do the toxins in nature affect the body and how does man fight back?
Many plants are poisonous from poison ivy and poison sumac to flowers used in bouquets such as larkspur and lily of the valley. Plants spread their poisons in different ways. Their poisons rang from skin irritation to death. Some are poisonous to the touch while others are orally toxic and have to be ingested to cause harm. Aconite is a plant that is poisonous by ...view middle of the document...

Venoms normally attack the tissue and bloodstream. When ingested the venom is broke down in the body just like food. Poison on the other hand when ingested attacks the cells making them rigged so that they can’t work properly. In the primate family the only venomous member is the slow loris. The slow loris licks poison off poison glands that are on the underneath of its arms to put the toxin in its mouth. When threatened by predators the slow loris will bite them with its sharp fangs, successfully transferring their toxins to the would-be killer. Slow loris toxins cause hematuria, blood in the urine, and can send victims into anaphylactic shock. All octopuses use venom when hunting. Normally they don’t attack humans, the blue ringed octopus doesn't attack humans unless provoked, but when they do they bit the person leaving a small puncture wound. Blue ringed octopuses live just off shore offshore of beaches found in Japan, Australia and between Vanuatu and Philippines resulting in accidental crossings. It may seem like a harmless bite, but the venom causes paralysis and respiratory failure. If the patent doesn't get medical attention fast, they will die in minutes. The Eastern Coral Snake is found in the United States. The snake is forever immortalized in the old school house rhyme, ‘red and yellow kill a fellow, red and black is ok Jack.’ This saying may seem like a nursery rhyme, but its message is valuable. The snake is poisonous and when bitten the victim at first suffers no signs of being poisoned until hours later. The snake’s poison paralyzes their prey by blocking the signals between the muscle nerves and the brain. To pass on a significant amount of venom to their prey to paralyze it the moment it is being devoured the snake has to chew it otherwise it takes hours before the venom can take full effect.
Man has used his ingenuity to combat nature’s deadly defense mechanisms; by using the animals own toxins to make antivenom to counteract them. To make antivenom scientist take the venom from the animal they want to make the antivenom for and inject small doses of it into a horse. The horse’s immune system will make antibodies to neutralize the venom. A vial of blood is taken from the horse, purified and the antibodies extracted. The blood is returned to the horse and the antibodies are frozen and kept till a victim of that animal’s venom is brought in. The antivenom is injected into the victim, once it’s...

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