Humans react to stress in various physiological ways. But what do plants do when stressed? Recent findings suggest they talk!
Researchers at Tel Aviv University placed microphones 10 centimetres away from tomato and tobacco plants. The plants were found to emit sounds within an ultrasonic range of 20 - 100 kHz. It’s believed that insects and various mammals could pick up these sounds from 5 metres away and respond accordingly.
These sounds could convey important messages to wildlife. For example, the researchers speculated that a moth may decide not to lay its eggs on a plant that sounds like it’s water-stressed.
These findings could have agricultural implications too. Anne Visscher, from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK, commented:
“The suggestion that the sounds that drought-stressed plants make could be used in precision agriculture seems feasible if it is not too costly to set up the recording in a field situation,”
If farmers are able to detect stress in plants, could this could open the door to more precise agricultural practices?
Existing research already hints towards plants being able to hear, smell, and touch. These new findings could be another breakthrough in our understanding of plants. Further research is welcome in this area to see whether this phenomenon extends beyond tomato and tobacco plants to other varieties.
Read the full research paper here.
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