October 1, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Bacteria and Plants Know Network Tech

An article on Science Daily says, “plants have their own chat systems that they can use to warn each other.” 

Many herbal plants such as strawberry, clover, reed and ground elder naturally form networks.  Individual plants remain connected with each other for a certain period of time by means of runners.  These connections enable the plants to share information with each other via internal channels.

So what do they have to chat about?  Danger.  Their “early warning system” enables them when hazards lurk about: “Once warned, the intact plants strengthen their chemical and mechanical resistance so that they are less attractive for advancing caterpillars,” for instance.
    Even smaller critters may have networks: in fact, possibly even a power grid.  Phillip Ball wrote for News@Nature, “Bacteria may be wiring up the soil.”  Yes, believe it or not, “Bacteria can sprout webs of electrical wiring that transform the soil into a geological battery, a team of researchers claims.”  Some bacteria extrude “nanowires” that shunt electrons produced during metabolic reactions.  A geochemist working at the Venter Institute believes “The earth beneath our feet might act as a gigantic circuit built by microbes to power their metabolic systems.”  If so, this “new aspect of microbiology” is a little too fantastic for some to accept, but one admitted, “If this idea is right, it is really quite remarkable.”

You don’t need to talk to your plants.  They’re too busy text-messaging each other.  Maybe human network engineers could learn a little technology from our humbler lifeforms.

(Visited 39 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply