, author: Plackhin A.

Scientists have discovered that plants communicate using "inaudible" sounds

Plants under stress make sounds that are inaudible to humans. These sounds vary from species to species and can be translated by artificial intelligence for human understanding.

Plants are capable of making sounds that indicate their condition. And each of them "speaks" its own language: the sounds are specific to each species. Moreover, the sounds made by plants can indicate their state of health. This is a very interesting discovery, which has just been published in Cell and puts an end to a long-standing dilemma.

For many years it was thought that plants could make sounds. This is because when vibrometers were used, suspicious vibrations were found around them. But were they consistent with acoustic waves? The truth is that we humans can't hear them, but that doesn't mean they don't make sounds. It just may be that they are not at the right frequency.

The authors of a study from Tel Aviv University wanted to test this theory. In the end, they came to the conclusion that plants can indeed make sounds. They sound at the same volume as we speak, but at a higher frequency than our ears can pick up.

The sounds of plants indicate how they feel.

For this study, its authors worked primarily with tobacco and tomato plants. However, they also used corn, cacti and nettles.

All of these plants were divided into three groups. Some had their stems cut off, others were left without watering for five days, and finally the plants in the third group were cared for as usual. They were then placed in acoustic boxes, which, in turn, were installed in a basement isolated from any background noise. In addition, an ultrasonic microphone capable of picking up sounds with frequencies ranging from 20 to 250 kilohertz was placed 10 centimeters from each plant. The human ear only picks up to 16 kilohertz, so sounds we can't hear can be detected.

When they studied the recordings, their suspicions were confirmed. The scientists were able to pick up clicking sounds that seemed to differ for each species. In addition, they noticed that plants that were not stressed in any way made less than one click per hour, while others, both damaged and dehydrated, made dozens of clicks every hour.

An algorithm for understanding their language

The Turkish scientists' next step was to put notes into an artificial intelligence algorithm so that it could distinguish what was happening to the plants. They trained on known data until they were finally able to determine independently which species of plants were making sounds and in what state they were in, and were able to distinguish them in the greenhouse from a host of other background noises.

On the other hand, it was observed that when the plants were subjected to dehydration, the number of sounds gradually increased until they reached a peak.

Scientists believe that, in a sense, this is the plants' way of communicating. We can't hear them, but some animals, such as bats, mice and some insects, can. Moreover, sounds can even be detected by other plants.

It would be interesting if we could do it, too. That's why the authors of the study suggest using their artificial intelligence algorithm so that farmers and gardeners can hear their plants. That way, they can get a much more accurate picture of their needs. The plants will tell themselves how they are feeling.

Who knows, maybe in the future we will all be able to hear our plants.