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Plants Use Fungus To Coordinate Defenses

posted 20 May 2013, 08:40 by Mpelembe   [ updated 20 May 2013, 08:41 ]

UK (Next Media) -   Scientists in the UK have shown that plants can communicate with the help of fungal networks.

Mycorrhizal fungi colonises the root structures of plants. Two plants connected by a network of mycorrhizal funghi are able to warn one another of threats, such as aphids. It is already known that plants can communicate through the air, so the scientists wrapped their test plants in plastic to prevent this. Plants were grown in groups of five, then three in a group were allowed to connected via fungal network, while two were kept isolated. Plants which received warning by fungal network secreted chemicals attractive to aphid wasps, while none of the other plants reacted when an unconnected plant was attacked.

Knowledge of the fungal networks could allow farmers to take advantage of plants natural defenses instead of relying solely pesticides.


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