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Groundbreaking video shows plant ‘talking’ to neighboring plant and it's just incredible

Scientists have forever known that plants can communicate but only through this footage were they able to figure out how.
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Ray Bilcliff
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels| Ray Bilcliff

Plants and wildlife have far more potential than humans have discovered. There are so many astounding characteristics that we still have to uncover regarding their lifestyle and living. A recent footage released by Science Alert remarkably captured a plant's communication. As part of an experiment and study, researchers observed movement in the plant as a means to interact with its neighbor. There have been studies since the late 90s that suggested plants possess the ability to communicate with each other, per Peta Pixel. However, it was a mystery how they managed to deliver any signal or interaction.

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Photo Mix
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Photo Mix

The study by Saitama University in Japan opened the potential for a vast understanding of the reasons behind the “how.” The biologists transferred compounds from insect-affected and injured plants to those of undamaged ones to see if any communication might be observed. Using real-time imaging and a microscope, they monitored how the plants reacted to the compounds. However, there was more to be prepared before they could detect any conclusion. The tomato plant Arabidopsis thaliana, used for the experiment, was genetically altered to add a fluorescent green color to it. This would be visible only when calcium ions were detected. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels|
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Gary Barnes

The idea was to look out for calcium signaling which is also said to be popularly used by humans to communicate. Once the injured compounds were pumped onto the leaves of the plant, the reaction was seen in a matter of seconds. Almost immediately, the calcium signaling became visible via the fluorescent green appearance, and it continued to rapidly spread. The video ended at around 1120 seconds or a little prior. By this time, the leaves of the plant were completely highlighting the fluorescent green, indicating their communication in reaction to the compound. 

Representative Image Source: Pexels| Monstera Production
Representative Image Source: Pexels| Monstera Production

There was an explanation provided as to how the reaction took place. The study suggested that the same is majorly possible because plants are surrounded by a “mist of airborne” compounds. They serve as a sense to the plants to warn them of herbivores and other forms of danger. In the case of this experiment, the researchers found that two compounds called “Z-3-HAL” and “E-2-HAL” induced calcium signals in the plant. The stunning footage also helped the researchers identify which part of the plant was the quickest to respond to the danger. With a gradual response from 3 exclusive parts - the guard, mesophyll, or epidermal cells - the guard cells were the first.

The guard cells were small pore-like structures on the plant surface. The mesophyll cells are the “innermost tissues,” of the leaves. The epidermal cells are the outermost portion. The calcium signals were seen within a minute from the guard cells, followed by the mesophyll cells. "We have finally unveiled the intricate story of when, where, and how plants respond to airborne 'warning messages' from their threatened neighbors. This ethereal communication network, hidden from our view, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding neighboring plants from imminent threats in a timely manner,” said Masatsugu Toyota, a molecular biologist of the study, per Phys.Org News.