December 5, 2023

Plants ‘cry’ when thirsty: Research reveals emitting sounds in stressful situations | environment

Plants make ultrasonic noises when they are thirsty – Image: Reproduction/Pexels

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have discovered that plants are capable of emitting Ultrasound noise When exposed to stressful situations, such as deprivation of water or cutting of stems.

The research was published on Tuesday (30) in the scientific journal Cell. The team recorded the sounds it produced Tomato seedlings that it tobacco grown in greenhouses. However, despite being captured by the measuring instruments used by scientists, the sounds Not audible to humans.

The main findings of the study are:

  • Plants emit clicks and pulsations in the range of 40 to 80 kHz (the human ear can only pick up sounds in the range greater than 20 kHz);
  • Noise can be picked up at a distance of up to 5 meters;
  • Plants whose stems were cut off or that were without water made more “noise” and at a higher speed.
  • When healthy, they produce less than one sound per hour. When stressed, they emit much more, between 30 and 50 per hour.

To achieve this result, the scientists trained an artificial intelligence algorithm that identifies the plant and cause of stress based on the type of noise provided.

The sounds can be picked up from 3 to 5 meters away and louder as the plant suffers from water deprivation. Image: clone/cell

call for help

The sounds are made frequently after two days without water, peaking on the fifth or sixth day and only diminishing as the plant dries out.

Until now It is not known how these sounds are producedHowever, scientists suspect that a process called lumenin which columns of water break up the dried stems of plants, creating air bubbles.

This discovery can be useful for Make irrigation more efficient. Using microphones and sensors, it will be possible to detect when plants need more water.

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