Mycorrhizal fungi (Wikicommons)A new study has demonstrated that plants can use an underground network of fungi to warn each other about incoming insect attacks.
Carried out by researchers from the University of Aberdeen, the James Hutton Institute and Rothamsted Research, the study demonstrated that the plants are able to send warnings of incoming aphids to other plants connected to their network. The plants then send out a chemical signal that repels aphids and attracts wasps, a natural aphid predator.
The research follows previous findings that have shown plants can communicate similar chemical warnings through the air.
The new study says plants can connect with other via a common fungus known as mycorrhizae. "Mycorrhizal fungi need to get [products of photosynthesis] from the plant, and they have to do something for the plant," John Pickett of Rothamsted Research told the BBC.
"In the past, we thought of them making nutrients available from the [roots and soil], but now we see another evolutionary role for themRead More »from Study: Plants communicate with each other via underground fungi