The Presence of Manganese in Beech-Nuts.
By DR. J. E. DE VRIJ.
In the introductory address of the chairman of the last Pharmaceutical Conference (Pharm. Journal, Sept. 17, 1870, p. 234) at Liverpool, my attention was fixed by the following sentence:—"By some authors it has been denied that plants absorb from the earth such metals as are not absolutely essential to their nutrition. Experiments, however, afford strong evidence to the contrary. Mr. R. Warington (Journ. Chem. Sec. 1865) found in the ashes of the beech and birch 0.193 per cent. of manganese."
This quotation of Warington's investigation induces me to mention the fact observed by myself more than twenty years ago. As at that time the investigation of the ashes of plants occupied a great many chemists, I also analysed some ashes. Amongst them were the ashes of beech-nuts collected by me in the neighborhood of Giessen, in Germany. As there exists a great quantity of manganese ore in that vicinity, the presence of a relatively large quantity of manganese in these ashes seemed to me quite natural. In 1847, being at the meeting of the British Association at Oxford, I visited the beautiful park of Blenheim, and collected there on that occasion some unripe beechnuts. After returning home, I analysed their ashes and found also in these, although grown in a very different soil, the presence of a relatively large amount of manganese. A third analysis of the ashes of beech-nuts, collected in the wood of the Hague, confirmed the same fact. As I was accustomed to use the ashes of beech-nuts in my lectures to demonstrate the reagents for manganese, this fact has been fixed in my memory.—Lond. Pharm, Journ., Jan. 21, 1871.