Engineer Envies Plant Cell Structure | The Institute for Creation Research

Engineer Envies Plant Cell Structure

Whether considering squishable apple tissue or resilient tree trunks, researchers say that plants "build" their parts using only four ingredients. Precise measurements of plant tissue strengths show that they vary across three orders of magnitude. How do plants so effectively use the same four building blocks to manufacture materials with such widely varying strengths?

MIT engineering professor Lorna Gibson found five features that plants "control and coordinate" when building tissues of various strengths. According to MIT news, "It turns out the large range in stiffness and strength stems from an intricate combination of plant microstructures."1

She published her review in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, where she wrote, "Apples and potatoes are examples of a simple tissue: parenchyma with thin-walled, polyhedral cells resembling an engineering closed-cell foam." Researchers deem that hardwoods contain complex tissue because in addition to parenchyma cells they have vessels and fibers. "The fibre cells provide structural support and have a honeycomb-like structure" similar to that used in hexagonal building supports.2

But whether it contains fiber cells or parenchyma tissue, plants all build their cell walls using cellulose, lignin, hemicellulose, and pectin. Plants expertly arrange these ingredients to form tissues of widely ranging strengths. Gibson wrote, "These large ranges arise from the composition of the cell wall, the number of layers in the cell wall and the volume fraction and arrangement of cellulose fibres in those layers, as well as the cellular structure of the plant tissue."2

"Gibson sees plant mechanics as a valuable resource for engineers concerned with designing new materials. But researchers have been unable to fabricate cellular composite materials with the level of control that plants have perfected," according to MIT news.1 What or who deserves the credit for the masterful way that lowly plants organize their own building materials?

Gibson said that "plants have developed" their own microstructures. Cornell plant biologist Karl Nicklas told MIT that because plants evolved, "We can learn things from nature and apply it to construct better panel boards, styrofoams and photovoltaics that will help society."1

But what reason or evidence even hints that plants or nature can engineer anything, let alone construction techniques and material management that surpasses man-made technology? Plants don't have brains or hands like human engineers possess.3 Those who deem plants to be expert engineers would not entrust a plant to produce even something so simple as a fork. When it comes to origins science, brilliant engineering professors are barking up the wrong tree.

References

  1. Chu, J. Plants exhibit a wide range of mechanical properties, engineers find. MIT news. Posted on mit.edu August 14, 1012.
  2. Gibson, L.J. The hierarchical structure and mechanics of plant materials. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Published online before print, August 8, 2012.
  3. According to Scripture, God did not necessarily use brains or hands to create either. However, He has something far more effective: audible commands spoken from beyond this universe. See Psalm 33.

* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.

Article posted on August 22, 2012.

The Latest
NEWS
Surveillance Tracing: Red Pandas in Himalayan Nepal
It’s tough to be a red panda in this fallen world, especially after the global Flood. Conservationists are satellite tracking red pandas in...

NEWS
Maine Lobsters Make International News
The life of a Maine lobster is mostly a matter of crawling around on muddy continental shelf seafloors, not far from a coastline. Benthic scavenging is...

NEWS
Should We Grouse About Not Seeing Grouse?
A recent report in Chesapeake Bay Journal laments the decline in ruffed grouse populations in the Chesapeake watershed region of its natural range. Ruffed...

NEWS
Meet Dr. G: Roller Skating, Evangelism, and a Changed Life
Have you heard the news? ICR’s Board of Trustees recently appointed Dr. Randy Guliuzza to be ICR’s new President & Chief Operating Officer....

NEWS
Honeybees: How Sweet It Is, Again
After some scary population downturns and scarier rumors of bee populations crashing, honeybees are making a comeback, populationally speaking.1,2...

NEWS
Dolphins Learn Tricks from Peers to Catch Fish
Dolphins—like other cetaceans such as whales, wholphins, and porpoises—are highly intelligent marine mammals, capable of astonishing feats....

NEWS
Liberty and the Word of God
“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:45). July 4th is called Independence Day here in our country because on...

NEWS
Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds
Wandering albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any living bird, so they live much of life soaring above the oceans. With their wings—and a lot...

NEWS
Inside July 2020 Acts & Facts
Where can we find hope during times of waiting? How has ICR reached a new global audience? How does evolution conflict with the Bible's teaching...

NEWS
Soft Dinosaur Eggs Deflate Bird-Dinosaur Evolution
A pair of new studies found that some dinosaurs, and possibly some marine reptiles, laid squishy eggs. One study discovered that many dinosaurs, like turtles...