Plants can "squeak": scientists make sensational discovery about ultrasound

Yulia LoseynkoLife
During the research, the plants were studied using ultra-sensitive microphones.

For a long time, plants have been considered organisms that can only express stress through signs such as deterioration, vibrations, the release of volatile compounds or electrical signals. However, as researchers from Tel Aviv University have found, in fact, representatives of the plant kingdom are also able to "talk" - to make sounds that signal certain problems, and even have a differentiation of these sounds.

The scientists published their findings in the journal Cell. According to them, plants emit sounds in the ultrasonic range. They can be detected from a distance - a machine learning algorithm was used to do this during the study. It turned out that different signals were used to indicate stress from drought or mechanical damage, etc.

To establish this, scientists used two sensitive microphones capable of picking up ultrasound in the range of 20-150 kilohertz. The experimental plants were tomatoes and tobacco. They were placed in acoustically isolated chambers, and either not watered for a long time, causing drought stress, or damaged by cutting the stem. No manipulations were performed on the control group.

As a result, different types of sounds were recorded, depending on the condition of the plant. Thus, those organisms that were exposed to adverse effects emitted more ultrasonic signals than those in the control group. The algorithm then analysed these signals and learnt to distinguish between them.

Scientists say that their discovery could have a significant impact on the development of agriculture and the environment. For example, drought can be detected earlier - at the stage when plants are just starting to make sounds, rather than getting sick and dying, which has a bad effect on the harvest. In addition, this should help ecologists study various processes and phenomena in different ecosystems, from large forests to farmland.

In the future, the researchers plan to study the mechanism of ultrasonic signals in plants. They also plan to learn more about the functional role of these sounds in different situations. In this way, they hope to better understand the interaction of the plant world with the environment. This will help develop new methods to increase yields and preserve the environment.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL told about the discovery of scientists about the mountain forests, which can threaten all mankind.

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