Coffee..."Nature's miracle"


         I took this picture at the Como Zoo in MN

Interactions and Adaptations  


            Coffee is not the only plant producing caffeine. There are actually 80 different plant species that produce caffeine which may aid in their protection and survival. This “poison” produced by the plants gives it a harsh taste, deterring predators. The organisms that feed on the plant learn to stay away as it can cause harm to the consumer’s central nervous system as well as harmful side effects including death. Some insects are able to withstand the caffeineCaffeine Structure from intake and can ruin crops that have large infestations of insects. Therefore, coffee is the heaviest sprayed good.

            Caffeine also provides protection under the soil, protecting the plant from bacteria and fungi. The drug spreads throughout the soil killing these harmful pests and may even keep down the weeds around the plant fighting for its nutrients.

  Arbuscular Mycorrizal Fungi from          Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from the phylum Glomermycota are in association with the coffee roots. This type of fungi typically is involved in a mutualistic relationship aiding the overall production of the plant by increasing its nutrient intake and getting sugars in return from the photosynthesis of the plant.

          Filamentous fungi, yeast, and bacteria have also been found during the wet method of processing the beans affecting the quality of the coffee but it is not known to what extent. Bacteria are commonly found in highest numbers when the berries are still on the tree, but also during some steps of fermentation processes where yeasts are also found. Filamentous fungi are mostly found at the end of drying and fermentation and in very low amounts when the berries are still on the tree.                                                   (Click here to see these processes)

          Canopy trees were originally need to provide the plant with some amount of shade, but were high enough that the coffee received the moderate amount of sun required for maximum production.  The trees growing between these two necessary layers, however, needed to be taken out. Plantation and coffee farmers did not hesitate to remove all the trees leaving only the shade trees for their crop. Luckily, a strain of coffee, “sun coffee” has evolved and is produced so that it does not require the canopy shade layer. “Sun coffee” is able to grow maximally in full sun, tropical areas, saving many trees from destruction.Bee pollinating plant from

          Instead of being naturally pollinated by just the source of wind, bee-mediated pollination has been experimentally shown to increase production. Bees have not only helped increase pollination but also in the quality of the fruit yielding an increase in overall revenue for the farmers shown from small studies done in Ecuador.


      Other than insect destruction there are diseases that can affect the production of the crop.

Coffee Rust from        

           Coffee Rust became known in Brazil when it destroyed its first crop in 1970, spreading to every coffee growing country. The rust, a form of fungi from the phylum Basidomycota, produces galls on the tree that take nutrients from the growing plant. This caused many producers to switch to a disease resistant C. robusta instead of C. arabica.

        Coffee berry disease was first discovered in Kenya in 1920 caused by another type of fungus, whose spores attack the berries of the coffee plant. A resistant form can be planted or non resistant types can be sprayed with a fungicide.

         Bacterial blight is present when conditions of climate are cold and wet. Blight in this case is not preventable, and is not a very common disease of the plant. Nematode from


         Pests are not complete without a species of Nemetoda, flat, parasitic worms that are among the most harmful pests to coffee. A few of the species are root-knot coffee nematodes.