Science in the Green
It may have become apparent from the proceeding critical discussion of earlier research that the problem of biological transmutation has not been solved, either in a positive or in a negative sense.
The main motivating force for renewed research is undoubtedly the conviction that the earlier work had not completely exploited all the experimental possibilities in this area. In itself this need not be a reason to start such new research. There are also a number of arguments of a theoretical nature that on the whole argue against biological transmutation and which may make further research seem pointless. Digressions from the classical laws of conservation would have paradoxical or even absurd consequences for the whole system of nature [as constructed by theoretical physics, the predictions of which are increasingly being experimentally confirmed].
Two arguments push themselves to the fore:
1) It is to be considered as an incontrovertible fact that the plant for its growth and development depends on the supply of mineral components from outside [so believe conventional scientists]. On the basis of this it is hard to understand what sense can be attributed to the further creation of elements already supplied [an argument independently used by Michel Haring regarding algae (personal communication)].
2) A consequence of a continuous transmutation by means of the living plant is that the whole soil could change through plant growth alone. [This they are well known to do, in conjunction with other soil organisms; but they are only known to be able to alter the distribution and composition of chemical elements and their compounds. Consider, for example, the alleged consequences of the evolution of the first green plants and their production of free, gaseous, oxygen where none had existed before; the present day fixation of nitrogen, by plants, from the air; and the soil formative powers of plant roots, earthworms, and innumerable other soil fungi and micro-organisms in general, without which our soils as we know them today would not exist. What Holleman refers to here though, are the consequences of hypothesised transmutation, or even creation (and/or destruction) of chemical elements, leading to fundamental, irreversible changes in the elemental composition of the soil and thereby of the Earth itself; see section 6.3.3 for further details.] Although one could imagine such a shift in the composition of the earth in its earliest days of existence when the relative proportions of everything were different, for the present age such a process is hard to imagine and is probably in contradiction to all existing experience in the field of agriculture [and biology in general; see however, Kervran(1972)].
Now however, the question is whether within the overall tendencies of plant physiology, which seem to meet the laws of the inorganic world, finer sub-processes occur which escape direct observation [see section 10]. In spite of everything that can be argued against a deviation from the usual way of thinking, it is not unthinkable that within the framework of the normal physiological laws, sub-processes happen in which transmutations occur. These could have a meaningful function in the life process, for instance by means of the formation of an as yet unknown isotope of an element [indication from Steiner (1924) and Koenig (1982); see also section 10.1.5.4] that is needed for the development of an organism. The first counter argument is therefore less pressing than it initially appears. When in addition such sub-processes may be considered as being reversible, so that a conversion in a particular stage of the organic development process is reversed in another stage, then the weight of the second counter argument also diminishes; there is no need to fear a geo-chemical catastrophe[!].
3) A much weightier objection relates to the energy changes in the case of transmutations. In the inorganic world transmutations usually only take place through the supply of considerable energy in the form of radiation of various sorts [or phenomenally high temperatures such as are found in the centres of stars or supernovae]. It is assumed that for such processes a very high energy threshold has to be crossed. Yet also in this case the possibility is given of a transmutation under much smaller energy changes by means of the so called tunnel effect. [Though theoretically possible, it is, according to the same theory, very, very, highly improbable (see Zvirblis, 1977). Nevertheless, in an interview with the professor and director of organic chemistry Pierre Barranger for the journal "Science et Vie" in 1959, who apparently had conducted extensive replications of the transmutation research of Herzeele, the analogy of the nucleus of an atom as a strong box, or safe was used; difficult to break open using blind violence, but easily opened by skilful manipulation (quoted from Tomkins and Bird, 1989)].
An attempt at a rational explanation of transmutations in the living cell was made by Goldfein (1978). He based his deductions on the transmutations which Kervran postulated and which Komaki is supposed to have experimentally proved. These transformations, for example 39 19 K into 40 20 Ca, are supposed to be able to happen totally under energy gain and therefore spontaneously [!]. The localisation of these processes is to be found, according to Goldfein, in the mitochondria. He supposed that within these organelles a magnesium compound of adenosinetriphosphate functions as the microscopic model for a cyclotron within which there is an acceleration of ions which is sufficient to cause a transmutation. The author concluded that hereby a new source of energy was in reach and actually of unlimited capacity!
The model has not been worked out in detail by Goldfein; it is also very much a question whether, along the lines of his very daring hypothesis, a correct idea of biological transmutation can ever be found. [Whether Holleman here considers that any hypothesis based on nuclear chemistry is doomed to failure, or merely that this hypothesis fails to answer a number of fundamental questions posed by conventional nuclear physics (e.g. de Gee, 1973; Zvirblis, 1977), is not clear.] However, the article had the merit that it focused attention on the possibilities which can hide behind the enormous multiplicity of biochemical reactions that occur in a living plant.
When one reviews the whole of biological transmutation research (which has been going on for more than a century), one has no other possibility than either to put the whole problem aside as pointless, or to devote oneself - removed from theoretical considerations - to renewed research, using modern techniques, on the factual [empirical] background to this as yet unsolved problem.