Israeli researchers hear secret language of plants

A row of plain-looking white cabins outside the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Israel's Tel Aviv University look no different from ordinary greenhouses, yet inside one of the cabins, the secret language of plants has been unlocked by a group of Israeli researchers.

According to an article published in the scientific journal Cell, plants usually emit more sounds when they are under stress. The click-like sounds are imperceptible to human ears, but can probably be heard by other plants and animals. This is believed the first time that airborne sounds from stressed plants have been classified and recorded at a distance.

Walking into the lab, two ultrasonic microphones for gathering the sounds of plants are placed in front of a tomato pot. Lilach Hadany, a leading researcher and professor at the School of Plant Sciences and Food Security, told Xinhua that this special equipment is mainly implemented in the study of ultrasonic signals of bats.

The microphones, able to record sounds at frequencies of 20-250 kHz, are put 10 cm away from the plant to avoid interference. With the help of the built-in sensors in the microphones, ultrasonic signals can be converted into electrical signals that are easily recognized by humans.


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