Plant Talk

Two recent articles shed light on different ways plants communicate. The Huffington Post described a study by BMC Ecology in which sound wave vibration emitted by plants affects growth of neighboring plants.

Image Credit BBC

Mycorrhizae

The article stated, “Despite the separation, chili seeds germinated faster when basil was a neighbor, suggesting that a message was getting through. Because light, touch, and chemical “smell” were ruled out, the team proposes that the finding points to a new type of communication between plants, possibly involving nanoscale sound waves, traveling through the dirt to bring encouraging “words” to the growing seeds.” BBC released an article delving into a study by the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute, and Rothamsted Research on plant communication between fungus networks. These networks, called “mycorrhizae”, have the ability to relay warning signals from damaged and infested plants to their neighbors.

Not only are both studies mind-boggling, they hold potential for agricultural systems to better understand how to arrange and strategize their crops.

Sources: Andrew Porterfield, The Huffington Post, May 7 2013; BBC, May 10 2013

Image: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22462855

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