Øster Farimagsgade 5, 1353 København K, 7, Building: 7.142
1123 København K
I am a plant scientist working on the polysaccharide composition of cell walls in succulents in an attempt to get a better understanding of their morphology, physiology and ecology. During my PhD I focussed on the genus Aloe, and why Aloe vera has become a main ingredient in such a wide range of household products, when up to 25% of the species in the genus Aloe are used medicinally in the areas where they grow naturally. One of the medicinal components of Aloes is the succulent inner leaf mesophyll, also referred to as the gel, and one of the proposed active compounds of this tissue is a polysaccharide group called mannans. Studies across the genus to elucidate the polysaccharide composition of the individual species was therefore essential to provide part of the answer to the worldwide use of Aloe vera. As Aloe vera and a few other aloes are grown as crops for the herbal medicinal industry, we also investigated the polysaccharide changes over the course of a year, and exposed a few selected plants to drought. The drought studies brought out very promising indications of the close link between changes in polysaccharide composition and the succulent plants ability to cope with extended periods of drought.