Plants can ‘talk’ under duress, study says

by Editorial Team

Listen up, vegetarians.

Plants under stress may be able to speak up, according to a study published Monday on the biology forum bioRxiv.

According to that study’s abstract, not only can vegetation change colors, scents and shapes when under duress, plants also “emit airborne sounds that can be recorded remotely, both in acoustic chambers and in greenhouses.”

Using “machine learning models,” a team of seven biologists from Israel’s Tel-Aviv University conducted a stress test on tobacco and tomato plants, each of which reportedly made audible sounds that could be detected from several feet away by certain orgasms.

The contraption used by researchers, which is illustrated in the report, includes an acoustically friendly box, a pair of microphones and a “reliable” recording system. Plants were also monitored in a greenhouse setting. Plants that were in need of water are said to have made different sounds than those that were not under stress.

“We found that plants emit sounds, and that both drought-stressed plants and cut plants emit significantly more sounds than plants of any of the control groups,” the study concluded.

Researchers said further analysis of their findings could be a big step for agriculture.

“Our results suggest that animals, humans, and possibly even other plants, could use sounds emitted by a plant to gain information about the plant’s condition,” the study said.

While some life forms might be able to speak with the greenery, human beings without the right equipment will not be part of that conversation.

“We demonstrated for the first time that stressed plants emit remotely detectable sounds, similarly to many animals, using ultrasound clicks not audible to human ears,” the study reads.


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