Kaytee Norris – March 4th – Guanajuato Day 4

Today we visited the University of Guanajuato’s Division of Life Sciences in Irapuato. When we first arrived, we had a few lectures about endemic plants in Mexico, which are the agave, mesquite, and cacti plant. During our lecture, we learned that there is a clash of interest between the laws of economics and the laws of nature. Another interesting fact is that there is a Penn State/Sam Hayes room at the Division of Life.


After our lectures we visited The Agave Center. There we learned that Agave is known as the “knowledge” plant. I also learned that the Agave center was started on September 21, 2000 and has two purposes. The first purpose is to collect, preserve and keep the Agave genome and the second purpose was to promote different species and uses of Agave. We also learned that 93% of the agave population is wild, while 6% is semi-domesticated and then less than 1% is the Blue Agave species and that species is the only domesticated species. Below is a photograph from The Agave Center.


Next, we visited the National Collection of Agave. There we learned about many different species of Agave plants. I learned a lot of interesting information during our visit here. I learned that the Agave Salmina produces most of the good Polky. I also learned that the Blue Agave plant is made up of 82% water and 18% sugar. Below is a photo from the National Collection of Agave. After we visited here we learned about mesquite and cactus. In addition, Dr. Raphael shared that he is trying to get people to understand the importance of the mesquite tree and that by having a good straight tree with many branches you would be able to feed your goats and provide income for the family for an estimated 30 years. With this being said, the life span of a mesquite tree is 30 years. Below are a few photos from the National Collection of Agave and the mesquite and cactus plantation.



After we got done learning about Agave, Mesquite and Cacti we had the chance to sample Polky. Polky is known as the poor mans tequila. It was very different. My favorite was the Strawberry Polky.


We learned that the Law of Economics plays and important role in the production of Agave, Mesquite and Cacti. Even though today was very long and tiring, we learned about a lot of interesting information as we got fried by the sun. To end the day, we ate dinner downtown at a small outside cafe followed by yummy cookies from a small downtown bakery. I am excited to visit the Tequila factory and Indian Ruins tomorrow.


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