Science has captured the intriguing sounds plants make in stressful situations – Enseñame de Ciencia

Plants are an important source of nutrients, and thus the basis of the diet for countless animals, including humans.

Since the beginning of the planet’s history, plants have colonized all kinds of habitats and become one of the most important natural resources. Man has known how to take advantage of its physical and chemical properties in the manufacture of medicines, cosmetics, perfumes and, of course, as a source of nutrients.

Plants are one of the most diverse, abundant, described, and studied groups of organisms. There are many lines of research about the plant kingdom, but without a doubt the discovery of a new study makes us rethink many things.

Have you ever wondered if plants generate sound? This question was the key to a group of researchers who managed to capture the sounds plants make under stress.

A group of researchers from Tel Aviv University focused their studies on the sounds made by stressed tomato and tobacco plants, either due to a lack of watering or due to a cut stem.

The study was published In the journal Cell, he states that although human ears cannot pick up on these sounds, there are animals (mostly insects) and plants that “can hear those sounds”. sounds, So there is a possibility that there will be a lot of vocal interaction,” according to study author Lilac Hadani.

So far it has been known that plants can experience stress resulting from a physical or chemical change in their environment, displaying altered phenotypes, including changes in color, odor, and shape, as well as the emission of volatile organic compounds.

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But this new study reveals that stressed plants are also capable of resuscitation Ultrasound sounds That spread in the air several meters away. These sounds could be used by insects as a means of communication, the study author said, “so it would be suboptimal for plants not to use sound at all.”

For the experimental stage, the scientists used microphones to record the sounds made by healthy and stressed tomato and tobacco plants, first using a soundproof room and then in a noisier greenhouse.

Scientists developed an algorithm by which they were able to differentiate between plants that were stressed and a group that wasn’t, discovering that the former made more sounds, very similar to “pops or clicks.”

Within the algorithm the researchers developed, it was also possible to distinguish the sound emitted by a plant experiencing water stress (lack of water), from the sound that had been previously cut off.

Plants under some form of stress can emit between 30 and 50 “clicks” per hour (at random intervals that don’t seem to follow a pattern), unlike plants that aren’t stressed, according to the study’s lead author, “When tomato plants aren’t stressed, they are very, very calm.”

The types of sounds analyzed prove that plants are able to communicate, distinguishing between frequency and manner of making sound, depending on the type of stress they are experiencing. However, scientists also associate this noise with the formation and bursting of air bubbles in the plant’s vascular system, a process called cavitation.

For more information, see: cell

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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