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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
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  • 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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Now Vitamin B12 Can be Found in Plants as well

If you are a hardcore vegetarian but deficient in Vitamin B12, then there is a good news for you as scientists have discovered ways to increase the levels of Vitamin B12 in an ayurveda herb used in making soups and sandwiches.

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Plant Species (representational Image), Wikimedia

If you are a hardcore vegetarian but deficient in Vitamin B12, then there is a good news for you as scientists have discovered ways to increase the levels of Vitamin B12 in an ayurveda herb used in making soups and sandwiches.

 

This fluorescent was then fed to the garden cress plants which was being cultivated by the students.
Arjuna plant/Ayurvedic herbs. Wikimedia

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential dietary component found especially in meat, fish and milk products.

 

However, plants do not make this nutrient, making vegetarians prone to Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Researchers, led by Martin Warren from University of Kent, found that the common garden cress, also known as pepper grass, can absorb cobalamin depending upon the amount present in the growth medium. They also confirmed that the nutrient gets stored in the leaves of the plant.

 

This fluorescent was then fed to the garden cress plants which was being cultivated by the students.
Tulsi plant/Ayurvedic herbs. Pixabay

Garden cress, known as “chandrashoor” in India, is considered as an ayurveda herb. It is genetically related to mustard and is used in making soups, sandwiches and salads because of its tangy flavour.

 

In the study, published in the journal Cell Chemical Biology, the team made a type of Vitamin B12 that emits fluorescent light when activated by a laser.

This fluorescent was then fed to the garden cress plants which was being cultivated by the students.

Team Led by Indian-Origin Scientist Converts Plant Matter Into Chemicals
Ashwagandha plant/Ayurvedic herbs. Wikimedia

 

The researchers found that the Vitamin B12 accumulated in a specialised part of the leaf cell called a vacuole, providing definitive evidence that some plants can absorb and transport cobalamin.

“The observation that certain plants are able to absorb Vitamin B12 is important as they could help overcome dietary limitations in countries like India, with a high proportion of vegetarians. It may also be a way to address the global challenge of providing a nutrient-complete vegetarian diet,” the researchers said.

Also Read: Hydroponics: Growing Plants Without Soil!

According to the researchers, the study also has implications for combating some parasitic infections. (IANS)