Appropriating Plant Defenses


plants live the ultimate sedentary lifestyle most of us usually think of plants as more as objects than its organisms but because plants can’t move they’ve had to evolve a whole other way to escape threats to their well-being plants can sense and respond dynamically it all sorts of stimuli chemical concentration is in the air soil and water touch motion vibration pathogens predators and of course light and how do they respond they respond biochemically they manufacture from scratch a dizzying array of compounds to deal with specific threats if we get too hot we can move into the shade but if plants get too hot they’re stuck they are the shade as a result the complexity of the plant stress response humbles that of animals plants and their stress response have been evolving for almost a billion years and in that time they’ve created the whole chemistry lab of protective substances some of which can induce similarly protective responses in those that eat them why is it that the best grapes in terms of health benefit often result from relatively dry Sun exposed in fertile soil similarly drought stress strawberries have more antioxidants and phytonutrients indeed commonly consumed foods like lettuce and fruits can be nutritionally enhanced by cold stress light stress water deficit or nutrient deficit stress why is it that stress plants are often the healthiest we used to think was just a matter of using the same tools to deal with the same problems studies suggest that plants and animals largely share the molecular pathways in order to respond to stress so it’s conceivable that a molecule produced in plants might also be effective in people plants have DNA humans have DNA the UV rays and sunlight can damage the DNA in plants in the same way can damage our DNA by creating free radicals plants figured out how to cook up all these complex antioxidants and instead of just reinventing the wheel animals can just expropriate those antioxidants from plants and commandeer them for the same perp we get attacked by bacteria plants get attacked by bacteria so for example when this fungus doesn’t like get muscled in on by bacteria crease a molecule called penicillin provided free to us what a nice guy what a fungi when plants get infected they produce aspirin which can come in handy when we get infected plants heal wounds we heal wounds and so using similar fatty acid signaling systems is increasingly evident that plants and animals differ less than we thought in terms of how we all respond sharing elements of fatty acid protein steroidal neurotransmitter free radical nitric oxide and even plant growth hormone signaling systems so in a sense were just opening up nature’s drug store when we pull out the crisper in our fridge you

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Reader Comments

  1. yousuckmorethanido

    so do they suffer in the same way when we butcher them, chop them up and eat them alive or boil them or burn them as a pig?

  2. elite1980s

    That's why certain people who are involved passionately with gardening often talk to the plants and they do response in their own way. As if they know exactly whats been said to them, they often grow healthier and quicker.

  3. chiyerano

    I learn something new everyday.  I can just see some people using this as a reason NOT to go vegan saying that plants respond and even have feelings, too.  No matter, I am still going to eat and make use of them, just taking care to be responsible and not wasteful about it.

  4. Garfunk Gabbery

    I've been talking about this for a couple weeks now with other Vegans, and have been under attack over me stating that Plants Feel, and are Beings.

    Most Vegans disagree LOL

  5. The Good Guy

    My theory on this is that the plants focus on increasing the likelyhood that their seeds will grow to adults by giving more nutrients to their fruits when stressed

  6. NutritionFacts.org

    Why are so many plant phytonutrients beneficial to human physiology?

    Watch below or click the link to watch on NutritionFacts.org: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/appropriating-plant-defenses

  7. Corey Fietz

    More antioxidants because when plants are stressed they look to survive they survive by seeds in fruit energy goes to fruit not leaves just like humans reproduction

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