Think Plant Think!


Summer 2010 Issue

Plants can think.

Think Plant Think! - Plants can think.

According to the findings of a recent experiment by Professor Stanislaw Karpinski from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland, plants can think, remember, and absorb signals from daylight that help protect them from drought, cold, or diseases. In the experiment, Professor Stanislaw and colleagues found that shining light on one leaf caused the whole plant to respond. The team believes that the light stimulated a chemical reaction in one leaf cell, which was then signaled to the rest of the plant through electrical signals in its cells that it remembered even after being placed in the dark. Interestingly enough, the plant’s responses differed when the light color was altered. “When we shone the light on the plant for one hour and then infected it [with a virus or bacteria] twenty-four hours after that light exposure, it resisted the infection…but when we infected the plant before shining the light, it could not build up resistance,” Stanislaw explains. This led the researchers to conclude that the plants must receive information encoded in the light to protect themselves against seasonal pathogens or harsh weather conditions. “Plants have to survive stresses, live through it and keep growing,” explains Christine Foyer from the University of Leeds. “This requires an appraisal of the situation and an appropriate response – that’s a form of intelligence.”

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