Plants talk to each other to defend themselves from potential threats.
Scientists from Japan have taken footage of plant ‘communication’ using specific signals, called airborne chemical signals. It is a kind of chemical alarm where plants produce them, when they feel stressed, for example, an insect bite or disease attack.
When one plant is damaged, the aforementioned chemicals are released, and the nearby plants answer by triggering defenses versus potential threats. For instance, an herbivore has attacked a plant by a bite, the compounds are released up into the air.
“It’s quite clear that plants are not just unresponsive victims of their herbivores, but that they are very aware of all kinds of things in their environment. And they respond to reliable information,” says Richard Karban, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis.
Scientists to capture such phenomena used fluorescence microscopy observations that were recorded into a video to showcase the responses of the plants.
“We have finally unveiled the intricate story of when, where, and how plants respond to airborne ‘warning messages’ from their threatened neighbors,” says Masatsugu Toyota, a molecular biologist at Saitama University in Japan and senior author of the study.
So, once a threat is detected, a defense mechanism is initiated like producing bitter-tasting chemicals or supporting the cell walls. This shows that plants can respond to environmental threats and not any passive reaction is being made.
Hidden World of Plant Communication
Unfortunately, it was a previously underestimated kind of a discovery that proves evidence of the complex communication. Definitely, it may lead to new developing, eco-friendly kind of methods to improve the plant resilience.
“This ethereal communication network, hidden from our view, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding neighboring plants from imminent threats in a timely manner,” Toyota added.
Thus, such potential applications help in comprehending the communication held between the plants in agriculture and environmental protection.
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