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Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine) is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide used to kill weeds, especially perennials. It is typically sprayed and absorbed through the leaves, injected into the trunk, or applied to the stump of a tree, or broadcast or used in the cut-stump treatment as a forestry herbicide. Initially patented and sold by Monsanto Company in the 1970s under the tradename Roundup, its U.S. patent expired in 2000. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the USA, where every year, 5–8 million pounds (2,300–3,600 tonnes) are used on lawns and yards and another 85–90 million pounds (39,000–41,000 t) are used in agriculture.
For many organisms (including humans), tryptophan is an essential amino acid. This means that it cannot be synthesized by the organism and therefore must be part of its diet. Amino acids, including tryptophan, act as building blocks in protein biosynthesis. In addition, tryptophan functions as a biochemical precursor for the following compounds (see also figure to the right):
Serotonin (a neurotransmitter), synthesized via tryptophan hydroxylase. Serotonin, in turn, can be converted to melatonin (a neurohormone), via N-acetyltransferase and 5-hydroxyindole-O-methyltransferase activities.
Niacin is synthesized from tryptophan via kynurenine and quinolinic acids as key biosynthetic intermediates.
Auxin (a phytohormone) when sieve tube elements undergo apoptosis tryptophan is converted to auxins.
The disorders fructose malabsorption and lactose intolerance causes improper absorption of tryptophan in the intestine, reduced levels of tryptophan in the blood and depression.
Phenylalanine is found naturally in the breast milk of mammals. It is used in the manufacture of food and drink products and sold as a nutritional supplement for its reputed analgesic and antidepressant effects. It is a direct precursor to the neuromodulator phenylethylamine, a commonly used dietary supplement.
A number of studies have found tyrosine to be useful during conditions of stress, cold, fatigue, loss of a loved one such as in death or divorce, prolonged work and sleep deprivation, with reductions in stress hormone levels, reductions in stress-induced weight loss seen in animal trials, improvements in cognitive and physical performance seen in human trials. Because tyrosine hydroxylase is the rate-limiting enzyme, however, effects are less significant than those of l-dopa.