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Beware Vegans! Flowering Plants ‘Hear’ When Eaten and Become Defensive, Says Research

Research Was Conducted by Playing Recordings of a Feeding Caterpillar to Flowering Plants

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Flowering plants
Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli (representative image). Pixabay
  • Flowering plants and trees hear when eaten and become defensive to the stimuli is found out in a study
  • The plants were made to hear vibrations of a feeding caterpillar and other was just sounds with same acoustics
  • The plants listening to caterpillar vibrations showed production of mustard oil which made the caterpillar crawl away

June 23, 2017: Plants and animals can be a source of energy for us but when it comes to defense, plants are not behind. In some cultures and communities, people have started choosing a vegan lifestyle as they are against animal slaughter. The viral videos on how animals are treated in slaughterhouses make people take up the vegan lifestyle. Most people think that plants do not have a conscience but research show otherwise.

Research show that plants do react to external stimuli and some research shows that they also communicate through chemical signals. They grow towards light, compete with other plants for water and nutrients and also signal for help when needed.

In recent news about science, a research published in Oecologia which was conducted in University of Missouri suggests that plants can hear when they are being attacked and can also become defensive from the attack. Heidi Appel (senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences) and Rex Crocoft (professor in the Division of Biological Sciences) carried out the research by conducting experiments in which they placed caterpillars on the flowering plants of cabbage and mustard.

ALSO READ: Find out why Hinduism always emphasizes on being a vegetarian

They put up a piece of reflective material and a laser on a leaf to measure its movement as a response from vibrations of feeding caterpillar and then they recorded the sounds of caterpillar feeding and played them to similar plants and on the other hand, they played sounds with similar acoustics but a different source to other plants.

The results showed that when caterpillars fed on both plants, the plant exposed to vibrations of caterpillars produced more mustard oils as it is unpleasant to caterpillars so they crawled away and those who were played sounds with similar acoustics showed no change in chemical response.

Appel and Crocoft said that more future researches would be upon how the vibrations are sensed by the plants and how plants would react to other vibrations to keep the pests away. Crocoft stated, ‘Plants have many ways to detect insect attack, but feeding vibrations are likely the fastest way for distant parts of the plant to perceive the attack and begin to increase their defenses.’

Appel said,’ ‘This research also opens the window of plant behavior a little wider, showing that plants have many of the same responses to outside influences that animals do, even though the responses look different.’

This research was part funded by National Science Foundation and it could prove to be a useful tool in agriculture!

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Widespread Agricultural Distress: Hyderabad Social Entrepreneur Uses Big Data To Change Farmers’ Lives

The app, which provides all farming-related information and communication in Telugu on a single platform, is significantly reducing the time and cost of cultivation for a farmer in real time.

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crops
The startup, which can sustain for next six months on its own, is receiving proposals from different investment companies and Naveen says he will go with whoever is close to his idea. Pixabay

At a time of widespread agricultural distress caused by successive droughts, unremunerative farming and debt-trapped rural economies, a young man with his mobile app is showing how change can be brought in the life of farmers at the grassroot level.

In 2016, V. Naveen Kumar, who had no personal knowledge of agriculture, was so moved by the suicide of a farmer in a village in his native Warangal district of Telangana that for the next three months he ran around like a man possessed, meeting farmers to understand their problems. He interacted with agri-entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to find if there is a way he can bring some change in the lives of the financially besieged farmers.

Today, over 1.24 lakh farmers in Telugu-speaking states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh use his mobile app NaPanta to avail a host of services, all free of cost. And this MBA degree holder is satisfied that he is contributing his mite to bring some change in the way they practise agriculture.

NaPanta, which was started in June 2017, saw, surprisingly, thousands of farmers download the app. The launch of the pocket-friendly Reliance Jio and the boom in use of WhatsApp brought more people on the platform.

crops

While the information on app will clear regular doubts of farmers, for specific doubts a farmer can ask questions to a panel which includes agriculture scientist and experts.
Pixabay

The app, which provides all farming-related information and communication in Telugu on a single platform, is significantly reducing the time and cost of cultivation for a farmer in real time.

“I am confident that if farmers follow my platform, they will be able to save 20 per cent on expenditure and get 10 per cent extra yield. We can make 30 per cent difference,” V. Naveen Kumar, Founder and Managing Director, NaPanta, told IANS.

While the country has many apps to help farmers, there is no single app covering the entire gamut of agriculture activity ranging from selection of crops to locate the market offering highest price for their produce. From advisory services and weather information to market prices and e-commerce, the digital platform offers the comprehensive agri eco-system.

The app has tools like crop expenditure (which helps farmers track their expenses in an organized manner), crop protection, weekly agro advisory, agri forum, market price, agri e-commerce, crop insurance, weather, food processing technologies, and soil testing information.

A farmer can also buy or rent an agri-equipment as per the requirements of his crop cycle and can also sell his produce for the highest price without any middleman.

The app also allows farmers to access real-time and dynamic information pertaining to daily market prices of 300 agri-commodities across over 3,500 markets, along with three-year price trend.

Currently available in Telugu and English, NaPanta App provides complete pest and disease management details, covering 90 crops and with suggestions about 3,000 pesticide products.

Naveen Kumar, who earlier worked as a Credit Relationship Manager in ICICI Bank and later as Credit Risk Manager with HDFC Bank before co-founding apnaloanbazaar.com, a retail loan distribution services portal, says he is trying to build core competence among the farmers.

According to him, for all their requirements, small and marginal farmers depend on third parties like distributors of the companies.

“With no knowledge of agriculture practices and requirements of a particular farmer, they try to push their products for some extra profit and as a result the farmers either suffer crop losses or end up incurring huge expenditure.”

With agriculture extension officers of the government more focused on clerical related activities rather than extending actual help, he believes there is a huge gap between farmers and the government initiated activity.

“Farming is not depending on a single advisory. It is a combination of various services. We identified all that a farmer needs in day to day life and ensured that he has easy access to the advisory so that whenever he gets a doubt, he can get it cleared then and there,” he said.

Naveen said several states including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were showing interest in the platform. The app will be available in Hindi and Tamil in June-July this year. “If everything goes well in next 3 to 5 years, we will have our presence in 7-9 states,” said Naveen, who heads a five-member team.

While the information on app will clear regular doubts of farmers, for specific doubts a farmer can ask questions to a panel which includes agriculture scientist and experts.

NaPanta, an incubatee of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) also gets the institute’s help in business activity, reaching the farmers and engagement with agri-input companies.

farmers

“With no knowledge of agriculture practices and requirements of a particular farmer, they try to push their products for some extra profit and as a result the farmers either suffer crop losses or end up incurring huge expenditure.” Pixabay

The startup, which can sustain for next six months on its own, is receiving proposals from different investment companies and Naveen says he will go with whoever is close to his idea.

With huge amount of data being generated on the digital platform, Naveen embarked on building big-data architecture with crowd-sourcing information. It is building database with information on major crops in a particular area, major insects which affect a crop, cropping system, sequential cropping model, pesticides and where the farmers sell their produce.

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He is confident that this data will be a goldmine in the coming years.

“This kind of crowd-sourcing information is not available in the agriculture sector in India. We are getting information from actual farmers and not third parties.” (IANS)