Building bridges: mycelium–mediated plant–plant electrophysiological communication

Matthew Adam Thomas, Robin Lewis Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2129291
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Plant
  • action
  • electric
  • electrophysiology
  • fungal
  • graded
  • mycelium
  • mycorrhizal
  • networks
  • potential
  • signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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