Stressing out and panicking is something humans do almost all the time, but what’s surprising is that plants can panic too. Moreover, their source of panic comes from none other than the fundamental element of life: water, in the form of rain.
It almost seems unbelievable that how something so essential for survival can cause harm, but according to scientists, water, in the form of rain drops, is the primary mode of transportation of bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores. Thereby it seems natural that plants want to protect themselves from the invasion of these microorganisms.
A team of scientists from the University of Western Australia’s School of Molecular Sciences including Dr. Van Aken, Professor Millar and their colleagues carried out a simple experiment to study the complex mechanism behind the panic state of plants. Using a common spray, they showered Arabidopsis thaliana plants from a distance of 6 inches. A chain reaction was initiated in the plant caused by a protein called Myc2.
This activated plant’s defense mechanism. Warning signals generated in result, traveled from one leaf to another and through the medium of air from one plant to another, alarming them of the incoming danger, and bringing about a range of protective effects as they traveled. The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
This state of panic proves to be very helpful for plants as it strengthens their immune system and protects them against any potential source of harm.