In a world first, researchers have discovered a plant that has successfully evolved to use ants—as well as native bees—as pollinating agents by overcoming their antimicrobial defenses.
Over 80% of the world’s flowering plants must reproduce in order to produce new flowers, according to the U.S. Forest Service. This process involves the transfer of pollen between plants by wind, water or insects called pollinators — including bumblebees. In a new study, researchers discovered a spiny pollen that has evolved to attach to traveling bumblebees.
Some plants, like soybean, are known to possess an innate defense machinery that helps them develop resistance against insects trying to feed on them. However, exactly how these plants recognize signals from insects has been unknown until now. In a new study, scientists have uncovered the cellular pathway that helps these plants to sense danger signals and elicit a response, opening doors to a myriad of agricultural applications.
Most plants have plenty of enemies, from insects and other grazing creatures to various diseases, droughts and many other stressors.
Plants respond to injuries or illnesses by initiating various defense measures. But a viral infection requires a completely different response than desiccation, of course.
To know more about its attacker, the cell relies on mechanical and chemical signals.
New research shows that ants inhibit at least 14 different plant diseases. The small insects secrete antibiotics from glands in the body. On their legs and body, they also host colonies of bacteria that secrete antibiotics.