A tacit understanding of plant “circle of friends”

  Walking into a green park, don’t step on the lawn, because the grass will produce a series of “sad” reactions.
  Grass has a complete defense system against insects and viruses. When a grass is bitten by insects or infected with viruses, it will release a substance called methyl jasmonate, which is volatile and its smell is both the “language” of communication between plants. , is a distress or early warning signal.
  When we step on the grass, it may mistakenly think that a large insect is coming, and it will send a signal to the “circle of friends”, so that “friends” can quickly synthesize substances that can prevent insects and viruses, so that the entire lawn “group” It creates a very tense atmosphere. Under normal circumstances, people can’t smell these odors. Only when the grass is mowing, when the grasses mistakenly think that a large number of insects are attacking, will the odor linkage be formed, and we can smell the fragrance of the grass.
  In addition to sending out wrong information about our stampede, Xiaocao often misunderstands things by relying on smell “language” to spread information. For example, they wanted to send the message to the “circle of friends” on the east side, but the smell was blown west by the strong wind. In addition, the information sent is not encrypted, and it is easy to be “eavesdropped”, making it easy for some parasitic plants to find their favorite hosts.
  Such an imprecise defense system obviously does not conform to the history of biological evolution. As a result, scientists speculate that at least those big trees will not use this “language” to communicate, and plants must upgrade their defense systems to ensure their survival and reproduction.
  A team led by ecologist Joseph Birch of the University of Alberta in Canada found that a forest was particularly lush, indicating that the forest’s trees should have a complete defense system, but they did not find any abnormality, only that the ground was covered with fungal network.
  Regarding the role of fungi, the scholar Constantine once did an experiment. He planted two groups of potatoes on the 1400-meter-high slope of the French Alps at the same time. , as a result, the one that brought the fungus had a bumper harvest, but the other group had no harvest. Explain that fungi can deliver nutrients and water to nourish plants. But for so many huge trees, it is obviously impossible to transmit nutrients by fungi alone. That is to say, there must be some tacit understanding between the physiological mechanism between fungi and plant growth and development.
  In order to know the secret between them, the scientists conducted another experiment. They connected two tomato strains A and B with the same mycorrhizal fungus, separated them with a 25-micron-thin stainless steel plate, and then connected the A strain of tomato to the same type of mycorrhizal fungus. Inoculated with susceptible pathogens, and bagged the above-ground parts to prevent the transmission of information or viruses from the above-ground parts, and at the same time, there were another 3 different control groups. After a period of time, the researchers found that the tomato plant B had some defensive enzymes and enzymes that could break down the fungal cell wall chitin. It shows that the tomato strain A has passed the virus information to the strain B through the fungus from the roots, and the strain B has taken preventive measures in time.
  In this experiment, the fungus acted as a “correspondent.” On this basis, the researchers conducted an in-depth exploration of the relationship between fungi and trees, and found that fungi not only transmit information on viruses and insects, but also provide information on where there is moisture, nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil to trees. Of course, the fungus has not forgotten that it has the function of delivering nutrients. In a forest that covers the sky and the sun, when a young tree that has just broken the soil cannot obtain nutrients through photosynthesis, the fungus will also transmit the nutrients of other large trees for the seedlings. grow.
  The connection between the root of a tree and the fungus is specific, so that a closed and encrypted area network is formed between trees of the same species. Take appropriate countermeasures to ensure life safety.
  So why do fungi provide this intelligence to trees? Because fungi need trees to provide them with a carbon source, it’s a “one-loss, all-win” forest management system. This underground defense system enables plants to minimize death in extremely harsh environments, and may even help humans reduce the impact of the greenhouse effect.