Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Commonly Consumed Substances Is Actually A Pesticide?

Dextrose
Alcohol
Caffeine
Aspirin

Answer: Caffeine

You most likely know caffeine as the substance that gives you a boost in your morning cup of coffee (or, perhaps if it doesn’t sit well with you, gives you a bad case of the jitters). The fact that caffeine does anything at all to the human body is merely a curious biological coincidence, however, and caffeine’s role in the natural world is that of a pesticide.

You read that correctly: although caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world, it isn’t a pick-me-up for plants like it is for humans and, in fact, exists in plants to ward off predators. Although most closely associated with coffee plants, caffeine is present in approximately sixty plants including the leaves of the tea bush, kola nuts, yaupon holly leaves, and seeds from Amazonian maple guarana berries. While the substance acts as a stimulate in humans, in insects it causes paralysis and even death and functions as an effective pesticide for the diverse number of temperate climate plants around the world that produce it.

On a related note, another widely consumed drug is also a pesticide (insecticide): nicotine. The active ingredient in cigarettes is used by tobacco plants as a pesticide just like caffeine. Historically, nicotine was even sold in powdered form for use in farming, but is no longer on the market due to toxicity concerns.

Trivia

Hard

Which U.S. State Has The Largest Amount Of Land Set Aside For Native Americans?

Trivia

Hard

When You Repeat A Word So Much It Loses Meaning You Experience?

Trivia

Hard

Best Known For Lightbulbs, Phonographs, And Film, Thomas Edison Also Invented?

Trivia

Easy

The Largest Number Of Remaining Blockbuster Video Stores Are Located In?

Trivia

Hard

What Ornamental Feature Did 19th Century English Aristocrats Keep On Their Estates?

Trivia

Hard

U.S. Currency Is Printed Using A Technique Known As?

Trivia

Hard

Bubble Wrap Was Originally Invented To Serve As What?

Trivia

Easy

Mycotoxins Are Toxins Produced By?

Trivia

Hard

Tamagotchis, The Fad “Pocket Pet” Toy That Swept The Late 1990s, Was Created By What Company?

Trivia

Hard

What Early Computer Virus Type Propagated Via Floppy Disks?