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Israel: Viagra Stops Flowers' Droop - 1999

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A scientist in Israel has revealed a novel way to keep your flowers from drooping. According to Professor Yaacov Leshem, a biochemist, the human impotency drug, Viagra, does for flowers what it normally does for men. His research reveals that a controlled use of the drug can extend the life of a plant for more than a week paving the way for possibilities in extending the life of other organic matter such as fruit and vegetables. Professor Yaacov Leshem did his research at the Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv. He and his Australian counterpart, Professor Ron Wills of the University of Newcastle, found that Viagra promotes plant freshness by slowing down the emission of ethylene - a gaseous hormone that ages the flower and causes it to wilt. It's the same gaseous hormone that causes fruits and vegetables to ripen and eventually causes them to spoil. SOUNDBITE: (English) "These plants are at a stage where they are marketed to florists in Israel and the world over. Within a week, in the average Israeli household, within a week, the roses would look like this (holds up wilted flower)." SUPER CAPTION: Professor Yaacov Leshem, Bar-Ilan University In fact, the professor says a single 50 (fifty) milligram pill, which costs about (U-S) 14 (fourteen) dollars, will sustain 50 roses for more than a week, keeping them fresh and erect for longer. UPSOUND: (English) "Here we have the Viagra, as marketed in a hundred milligrams. We need only a quarter of a pill, so we cut it." SUPER CAPTION: Professor Yaacov Leshem, Bar-Ilan University UPSOUND: (English) "Now we have the Viagra broken up into very, very fine particles which are immersed in the solution and this I'm adding into the solution (Puts flowers into solution)." SUPER CAPTION: Professor Yaacov Leshem, Bar-Ilan University The discovery holds the potential to revolutionize the post-harvest produce packaging and storage industry by preserving agricultural produce. However, although Professor Leshem says that Viagra may be able to increase the shelf life of peas, beans and strawberries, he said it's unclear whether eating the food would have side effects. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/3753901644c4505f6dc23ad962bd810d Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork
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