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Name: Sylvia
Status: Educator
Grade:  6-8
Location: N/A
Country: United States
Date: February 2006


Question:
Can a sample of grass ashes contain proteins? A friend told me that he had the grass from his farm analyzed, and that the lab said that the ashes contained proteins. Is this possible? I thought that proteins would be decomposed heat.



Replies:
Sylvia-

I think you have a good point, there. You and I and possibly your friend don't really know what this test consisted of. It most certainly wasn't complete combustion.

After complete combustion, all the carbon has left as CO2 gas, except perhaps a little bit that gets trapped as metal carbonate salts such as Na2CO3. Even that leaves if the burning is hot enough.

Either way, not nearly enough carbon is left, or in the right form, to make proteins.

You might like to get a more specific technical name for this test. Then we could begin to figure out what it's about.

Jim Swenson



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