VegansIt is becoming increasingly common for people to feel concern about eating meat because they care for the animals that have to be killed to get the meat. Vegans go so far as to for sake all animal products such as milk and cheese, substituting them for vegetarian equivalents instead. Bur surely none of us feel any qualms about digging into a salad. It is only vegetables, so what’s the big deal?

If that is how you feel, it would come as a shock to you that even plants can feel and ‘hear’ themselves being eaten. Researchers found out recently that not only can plants feel and hear themselves being attacked, they can also scream back and respond in other defensive ways. It was already known that plants can respond to music. Some even say that if you talk to a plant it grows faster and better. Now researchers from the University of Missouri have found that plants can hear and identify the sounds of insects like caterpillar feeding nearby and react appropriately to that.

Heidi Appel, senior research scientist in the Division of Plant Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU has been collaborating with Rex Cocroft, professor in the Division of Biological Sciences.

The study was conducted on Arabidopsis, which is biologically related to the cabbage and mustard plants. They managed to measure the vibrations made by a caterpillar feeding on a leaf, using a tiny piece of reflective material on the leaf and reflecting a laser beam off it. The sound of this vibration was recorded and later on played back to one set of plants, along with other sounds. Another set of plants were played back with only silence. Afterwards they set caterpillars to feed on both sets of plants.

It was found that the plants that had been fed with the feeding vibration sounds responded defensively on feeling the same vibration by releasing more mustard oil, a substance that is disliked by many caterpillars. According to Appel and Cocroft, the plants did not respond that way to other sounds. Only the feeding sounds specifically provoked such a reaction.

Other researcher in Bonn, Germany have found that some plants responded to similar threats by releasing ethylene gas. They have managed to record the ‘bubbling’ sound from this release. However they found that the noise rose to a screech when a plant was under actual attack. According to Dr. Frank Kühnemann, “The more the plant is subjected to stress the louder the signal.”

Appel says that their work is the first to investigate how the plants respond to ecologically relevant vibrations. And that “feeding vibrations” signal changes in the plants metabolism that produce chemical harmful to the insects.

According to Cocroft, what was remarkable was that the plants who had been fed with different sounds, could distinguish between and respond specifically to the vibrations that indicated caterpillars feeding. Appel and Cocroft said that the future course of the research would be to analyze the vibrations to find which particular part or parts of the complex vibration signal are important and how they combine with other plant interactions to generate protective reactions.

So, don’t be complacent about crunching into that crisp heart of lettuce, or bite into that carrot. Plants can hear and feel the pain, and can very well defend themselves against attacks. What’s with the vegetarianism, anyway? Anthropology has determined that humans were not designed to be herbivores, but omnivores. Creatures who eat a mix of vegetables and fruit and meat. Our teeth are not meant to chew through an exclusively fibrous vegetarian diet. Besides, you have to eat to live, haven’t you?

Bad news for vegetarians - Plants Can Hear When THEY ARE BEING EATENhttp://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Vegans.jpghttp://www.aartiinformatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Vegans-300x300.jpgAarti InformaticsDIETHEALTHplants can feel,plants can hear,plants feel and hear,Vegans,vegetarianismIt is becoming increasingly common for people to feel concern about eating meat because they care for the animals that have to be killed to get the meat. Vegans go so far as to for sake all animal products such as milk and cheese, substituting them for vegetarian equivalents...Daily News, News Magazine, Online Magazine