Plants show they can 'remember' light

July 15, 2010 at 4:57 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

WARSAW, Poland, July 15 (UPI) -- Plants can "remember" and "react" to information they receive from light shining on them, researchers in Poland say.

Researchers at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences discovered Information on light intensity and quality is transmitted from leaf to leaf in a process similar to that used by human nervous systems, the BBC reported Thursday.

Cells that act as "nerves" of the plants carry electro-chemical signals from one part of the plant to another, the researchers said.

In an experiment, they showed that light shone on to one leaf caused the whole plant to respond, and light-induced chemical reactions in the leaves continued after dark as the plant "remembered" the information encoded in light.

Chemical signals could be passed throughout the entire plant allowing it to respond to and survive changes and stresses in its environment, including disease, research leader Professor Stanislaw Karpinski said.

"Every day or week of the season has … a characteristic light quality," Karpinski said.

"So the plants perform a sort of biological light computation, using information contained in the light to immunize themselves against diseases that are prevalent during that season," he said.

Trending Stories