Plants actually know when they are eaten and send distress signals

Just because plants do not have brains it doesn’t mean they cannot have feelings. Plants can feel distressed as in a way they have a type of nervous system.

Plants Warn Each Other If They Are Attacked

Biologists have found out that if the leaf of a plant starts to get eaten it is able to give off a warning to other leaves. They do this by using similar signals to animals in distress. Biologists are continuing to study the mystery of how plants are able to take to each other.

The nerve cells of animals are able to talk to each other thanks to glutamate. This is an amino acid that is released when the nerve cells are excited. The glutamate then starts a wave of calcium ions in cells close to the cells in the leaf being attacked, which travels down the nerve cells giving out a signal to the next. This is a very effective means of communication over the long distance.

Plants Increase Calcium When They Are Damaged

Over time plants have developed a molecular sensor that is able to detect any calcium increase. Scientists believed this might have played a role in how they communicate so bred the sensor into a plant known as the Arabidopsis, a mustard plant, according to When the levels of calcium increased they glowed brighter. The scientists then cut into a leaf on the plant with the intention of finding out if calcium activity was detected.

As soon as the leaf of the plant was cut into the glow got brighter. Where they had cut into the leaf it dimmed. The scientists then saw that the glow made an appearance and then disappeared the further away from the cut until the calcium, which was essentially traveling in a wave, reached the remainder of the leaves. Scientists looked further into this and found the calcium wave had been triggered by the glutamate.

This was the first time that plant biologists realized how information was transmitted by plants, in other words how they communicated with each other. After the study scientists were able to better monitor the behavior of plants. It is thought the study might also lead to scientists being able to manipulate the internal communications of plants.

[embedded content]