How do carnivorous plants digest their prey?

Carnivorous plants use enzymes to digest their prey. Most of them, including Venus flytraps, butterworts, sundews, and many types of pitcher plants, all make their own digestive enzymes. These enzymes help them digest their prey. After their insects have been digested, all that remains is a mass of dead insect parts. Other carnivorous plants do not make their own digestive juices. Instead, they rely on bacteria to produce their enzymes. Once captured, the insect rots, and the carnivorous plants absorb the decomposed molecules. Many plants, such as sarracenia, use both their own enzymes and bacteria-generated enzymes. This is called a symbiotic relationship because both organisms benefit from this unique feature: The plant enjoys the bug-soup digested by the bacteria, while the bacteria get a comfortable place to grow. Bacterial digestion is no stranger to the animal kingdom: termites have bacteria inside them that help them digest wood, for example; and humans have Escherichia coli (E. coli) in their intestines to help them digest food.


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