Tomatoes have a kind of nervous system that warns about attacks

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Cherry tomato plants have a kind of nervous system

Shutterstock / Digihelion

Tomatoes that are being eaten by insects use electrical signals to send an alert to the rest of the plant, similar to the way our nervous systems warn of damage.

The messages seem to help the plant muster defences such as releasing hydrogen peroxide, a reactive chemical that combats microbial infections of damaged tissues, a study has found.

Human nervous systems use specialised cells called neurons to send electrical signals between different parts of the body. Plants lack neurons, but they do have long, thin tubes called xylem phloem for moving sap between their roots, leaves fruit. Charged ions flowing in out of these tubes can propagate electrical signals around different parts of the plant in a similar way to neurons, although much less is known about the process in plants than in animals.

Previous work found that leaves that are physically damaged send electrical signals to other leaves. In a new study, Gabriela Niemeyer Reissig at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil her colleagues investigated if this could happen with fruit.

They studied small cherry tomato plants (tomatoes are a fruit, botanically speaking) by placing them inside Faraday cages, which block external electric fields, confined caterpillars of the moth Helicoverpa armigera on the surface of fruit within plastic bags.

Electrodes placed in the fruit stalks showed that the patterns of electrical activity changed during after the caterpillars started eating. They also varied depending on whether the fruits were ripe or green. “The electrical activity of the fruit is constantly changing every second,” says Niemeyer Reissig. “We can find a [distinct] pattern in the electrical activity when an insect attacks.”

There was also a rise in levels of hydrogen peroxide produced by untouched fruit leaves all over an attacked plant. “This is probably to avoid microbial infections of damaged plant tissue or as a strategy to cause cell death in the affected region, preventing the spread of pathogens,” says Niemeyer Reissig.

Journal reference: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.657401

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Tomatoes have a kind of nervous system that warns about attacks

[ad_1]

Cherry tomato plants have a kind of nervous system

Shutterstock / Digihelion

Tomatoes that are being eaten by insects use electrical signals to send an alert to the rest of the plant, similar to the way our nervous systems warn of damage.

The messages seem to help the plant muster defences such as releasing hydrogen peroxide, a reactive chemical that combats microbial infections of damaged tissues, a study has found.

Human nervous systems use specialised cells called neurons to send electrical signals between different parts of the body. Plants lack neurons, but they do have long, thin tubes called xylem phloem for moving sap between their roots, leaves fruit. Charged ions flowing in out of these tubes can propagate electrical signals around different parts of the plant in a similar way to neurons, although much less is known about the process in plants than in animals.

Previous work found that leaves that are physically damaged send electrical signals to other leaves. In a new study, Gabriela Niemeyer Reissig at the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil her colleagues investigated if this could happen with fruit.

They studied small cherry tomato plants (tomatoes are a fruit, botanically speaking) by placing them inside Faraday cages, which block external electric fields, confined caterpillars of the moth Helicoverpa armigera on the surface of fruit within plastic bags.

Electrodes placed in the fruit stalks showed that the patterns of electrical activity changed during after the caterpillars started eating. They also varied depending on whether the fruits were ripe or green. “The electrical activity of the fruit is constantly changing every second,” says Niemeyer Reissig. “We can find a [distinct] pattern in the electrical activity when an insect attacks.”

There was also a rise in levels of hydrogen peroxide produced by untouched fruit leaves all over an attacked plant. “This is probably to avoid microbial infections of damaged plant tissue or as a strategy to cause cell death in the affected region, preventing the spread of pathogens,” says Niemeyer Reissig.

Journal reference: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.657401

Sign up to Wild Wild Life, a free monthly newsletter celebrating the diversity science of animals, plants Earth’s other weird wonderful inhabitants

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Russia warns US over hypersonic missiles in Europe, could lead to ‘inadvertent conflict’

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The Russian Embassy in the U.S. did not mince words in a tweet late Monday warning Washington not to deploy hypersonic missiles in Europe. 

The tweet begins with a red exclamation point reads: “We would like to remind @PentagonPressSec that potential deployment of any [American flag] hypersonic [missile] in Europe would be extremely destabilizing. Their short flight time would leave [Russian flag] little to no decision time raise the likelihood of inadvertent conflict.”

The tweet comes as the U.S. reportedly turned its attention away from a railgun to hypersonic technology.

John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, held a press conference on Monday was asked by a reporter about Russia’s claim that it successfully tested a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile. Reuters reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin said the weapon has no equal in the world. 

Of course, in a military conflict, the country that can strike first most decisively has the upper hand. While the U.S. is believed to have the world’s fiercest submarine fleet, Russia’s hypersonic advancement seems to have been noticed, especially since these missiles are apparently being designed to have nuclear capabilities.

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“We’re certainly aware of President Putin’s claims,” Kirby said, according to a transcript from his press conference. “And while I won’t be getting into specifics or providing any kind of an analysis on his claims, it’s important to note that Russia’s new hypersonic missiles are potentially destabilizing pose significant risks because they are nuclear-capable systems.”

In this photo taken from video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov of the Russian navy from the White Sea, in the north of Russia, Russia, Monday, July 19, 2021.
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Kirby said the U.S. is working “closely with allies partners, including NATO, to try to check those destabilizing activities.”

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The Pentagon did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News shortly after the Russian embassy tweet.

Al Jazeera reported that the missile was fired from a warship in the White Sea. Russia claimed that the missile traveled seven times the speed of sound nailed a target about 217 miles away.

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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Afghans who helped US being evacuated to Virginia Army base

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About 2,500 Afghans who worked for the U.S. government will be evacuated to a military base in Virginia along with their families pending approval of their visas, the Biden administration said Monday as the administration rapidly moves to complete the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Members of Congress have expressed alarm about the fate of Afghans who worked for the U.S. over the past 20 years, particularly as the Taliban have stepped up military operations against the Afghan government, seizing control of major portions of the country as U.S. troops withdraw.

The Afghans will be temporarily housed at Fort Lee, a sprawling Army base south of Richmond starting next week, according to a Defense Department notice sent to Congress. The administration announced earlier this month that it would soon begin relocating Afghan visa seekers under an initiative known as “Operation Allies Refuge.”

In this June 25, 2021 photo, former Afghan interpreters hold placards during a demonstrations against the US government, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. 
(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

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The group includes 700 Afghans who worked for the U.S. roughly 1,800 family members.

“These are brave Afghans their families, as we have said, whose service to the United States has been certified by the embassy in Kabul, who have completed thorough security vetting processes,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby declined to say when the first applicants would arrive at Fort Lee but said they are expected to stay only several days before being resettled by the State Department refugee assistance groups. Kirby said it is possible the Pentagon will offer additional domestic military bases for similar use depending on the pace of relocations.

Monday’s announcement came amid growing concerns for the safety of Afghans who served as translators in other support roles for American troops diplomats during the long war.

In this June 25, 2021 photo, Former Afghan interpreters hold placards during a demonstrations against the US government, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. 

In this June 25, 2021 photo, Former Afghan interpreters hold placards during a demonstrations against the US government, in front of the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. 
(AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

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The group to be housed at Fort Lee make up just a small portion of the number of Afghans seeking refuge in the United States. Roughly 20,000 have expressed interest in applying for “Special Immigrant Visas” to move to the U.S., but only about half are far enough along in the vetting process to be considered for relocation.

An additional 4,000 applicants family who have completed most of the application process but have yet to clear security screening will be sent to non-U.S. locations to await adjudication of their visas, Price said. “Our plan is to take them to locations outside of the United States where they will be safe where they will be provided accommodation during this processing period, which can last a number of months,” he said.

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Russia successfully tests state-of-the-art cruise missile

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Russia has successfully tested a state-of-the-art cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir Putin as the best in the world, according to reports.

“The tactical technical characteristics of the Tsirkon missile were confirmed during the tests,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

BIDEN TELLS PUTIN TO ‘DISRUPT’ RANSOMWARE GROUPS OPERATING OUT OF RUSSIA

The defense ministry said the missile was fired from a warship in the White Sea traveled at approximately seven times the speed of sound to a target more than 217 miles away on the coastline of the Barents Sea, Reuters reported.

“The Tsirkon missile successfully hit a target directly at a range of over 350 kilometers. The flight speed reached nearly Mach 7,” the ministry said, according to AFP.

In this photo taken from video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, a new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile is launched by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov of the Russian navy from the White Sea, in the north of Russia, Russia, Monday, July 19, 2021. 
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia announced the missile test Monday, though it’s unclear when it took place.

Putin has touted the country’s arsenal as “invincible.”

The Tsirkon test comes after Russia tested a supersonic cruise missile in the Black Sea in April.

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“The Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva missile cruiser for the first time in recent history fired the Vulkan missile with the ship’s Bazalt main missile system in the waters of the Black Sea,” the defense ministry tweeted at the time.

To read more from the New York Post, click here.

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