Whether through root secretions or by emitting volatile organic compounds, plant communication has been well-documented. While electrical activity has been documented in plants and mycorrhizal bodies on the individual and ramet, electrical propagation as a means of communication between plants has been hypothesized but understudied. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that plants can communicate with one another electrically via conductively isolated mycelial pathways. We created a bio-electric circuit linking two plants using a mycelial network grown from a blend of mycorrhizal fungi which was directly inoculated onto potato dextrose agar, or onto the host plants placed on the agar. The mycelium that grew was forced to cross, or “bridge,” an air gap between the two islands of agar–thus forming the isolated conductive pathway between plants. Using this plant-fungal biocircuit we assessed electrical propagation between Pisum sativum and Cucumis sativus. We found that electrical signals were reliably conducted across the mycelial bridges from one plant to another upon the induction of a wound response. Our findings provide evidence that mechanical input can be communicated between plant species and opens the door to testing how this information can affect plant and fungal physiology.
|Journal||Plant Signaling and Behavior|
|State||Published - 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky. Personal funds (R.L.C.; M.A.T.). Chellgren Endowed Funding (R.L.C.). Hannah Whalen for her vigilant assistance in growing plants, Ashley Seifert for his guidance, suggestions, editing and reviews, Nicholas McLetchie for suggestions and review of the paper, Joe Davis for his guidance, assistance, and inspiration, Rachel Vascessenno for her assistance with data logging, and Harry and Carol Thomas for their love, support, and patience.
© 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Plant Science