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Have you ever thought that plants could even feel a touch when you just stare at them? No Right? Well, Scientists, though, could hold a different viewpoint. This article discusses the new study that proves plants’ ability to anticipate and respond to touch.
Credit: Thomas Barwick
The study of Washington State University research has revealed that Plants have the ability to anticipate and respond to touch. Plants can feel touch though they do not have any nerves. The new discoveries, according to the researchers, are just the beginning and require further investigation. There may not be many motions visible from the outside of the plant, but there are numerous activities taking place at the cellular level.
Although this intrinsic reaction has been known to scientists since the time of Darwin, many unanswered concerns persist today. The new study examined complicated networks that help plants’ defenses get stronger in response to outside forces.
A plant cell was touched for 30 seconds by researchers, and they saw slow calcium ion waves or cytosolic calcium. These sluggish waves, which last three to five minutes, leave the cell and pass through neighboring plant cells. On the other hand, removing a contact from a plant cell revealed an instantaneous set of quicker waves that vanished in under a minute.
Earlier research has shown that plants start to mount a defensive reaction when they get attacked by a pest like a caterpillar. For instance, the production of compounds that deter pests from eating the leaves or even render them hazardous. Another study found that touching a plant causes calcium waves to be released, which then activate a number of genes.
The presence of robust cellular walls in plants renders them breach-resistant. As a result, a plant cell’s pressure might momentarily rise even with a mild touch. According to the researchers, the main mechanism underlying a plant’s capacity to discern when contact starts and stops is the subsequent increase or reduction in internal cell pressure. They point out that every cell on a plant’s surface has this capacity.
Many people have witnessed the way the leaves of the touch-me-not plant, Mimosa pudica, fold when they are touched. Fewer people are aware that if you confine one of them in a sealed room with an anesthetic dose, ultimately, it will stop acting in this manner, as though it has been unconscious or put to sleep.
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