It has been previously established that plants can get stressed. Now a new study dives further into this and says that studying the responses of plants to environmental stressors could help yield more from them. While plants are well adaptable, the pace of environmental changes is too fast for them to cope sometimes. And damage in plants can effect our food.
What Did This New Research Reveal?
Proving yet again that despite being quiet and immobile, they’re still living beings, plants have been found to also experience stress. Just like humans, they also dislike change and the environmental changes of the past few decades have been stressing them out.
Researchers at the Salk Institute say that plants employ chloroplast to nucleus communication for maintaining gene expression and withstanding rapid changes in the environment. Chloroplasts are involved in the making of proteins in damaged plants.
Getting a proper and in-depth insight of this process can help create stronger plants that better respond to environmental stress. Stressed out plants can damage food as well as alternative fuel production.
The senior author of this study, Professor Joanne Chory said, “Climate change holds the potential to affect our food system dramatically. When plants are stressed, like in a drought, they produce lower crop yields.” He further added that tapping into how plants respond to stress could maybe help come up with ways to up their resistance and increase food production.
Even though plants are highly adaptable, they may not be able to keep up with the current pace of environmental changes which increases the necessity for cracking how they respond and what can be done to regulate their functions during stressful times.
What happens when plants get stressed?
Plants need optimal conditions to grow properly. They need to be spaced rightly apart from one another while being in the same area. They need sunlight as well as moisture. However, too much of any factor may prove to be bad for the growth of a plant rather than good.
Just like humans, plants are not able to perform their duties correctly when they are stressed out. They become more vulnerable to diseases and pests. And since our diet has vegetables and fruits as important components, low quality ones can impact our health as well.
Plants under stress may become the victim of fungus which can spread or may not be able to tolerate feeding larvae. This can result in the destruction of whole fields and gardens which also means financial loss for growers.
However, some research points out that stress is good for plants as it increases their resistance. The reasoning lies along the lines of how humans learn to cope better when inflicted by stress. Under stress, plants go through hormonal changes. They may also give off responses to combat different types of stressors which can also attract the good type of insects for them.
However, not all species survive and thrive in stressful times which calls for the need to further study how plants respond to stressful conditions.