How exciting is this!?!?
The original researcher Itzhak Khait, a plant scientist at Tel Aviv University, started out searching for this topic the same way other seemingly serendipitous breakthroughs are discovered:
With a curious question.
Why did plants choose to evolve to be silent?
Most animals and even insects have some sort of auditory signaling or language. Even fish and coral reefs make sounds. Up until now, we assumed plants only communicated with each other and the outside world through chemical signals and color.
In Itzhak's question to discovery why plants chose to be silent he found out something quite un expected. Instead, he and his researchers discovered they are indeed regularly chatty after all! Even more so, they love to complain.
Plants emit ultrasonic sounds when they experience stress. (These ultrasonic sounds are above the human hear range.) This is big news with big implications. First of all whom are they talking to? Itzhak's researchers ponder once they know the answer to he who, then they can better understand the why and what.
Does that mean they can listen too? Perhaps those hippies were right, sining to our plants makes them happier?
What they do know, using machine learning, that in all the plants they tested, the frequency and duration of sounds was greater when the plants were exposed to stressful situations.
The study, published in the journal Trends in Plant Science, found that tomato and tobacco plants made sounds at frequencies of 40 to 80 kilohertz when deprived of water or cut. The researchers used machine learning models to match the sounds to different species of plants and the different stresses they were subjected to. The study also recorded the sounds of wheat, corn, grapes, cacti, and mint plants to test the findings. The research suggests that monitoring plants' ultrasonic sounds could help detect plant stress before it is visible to the naked eye. You can read the full article here.
Dr. Chantelle Davidson Pharm.D
Tres Keikis Skin Health Blog