Link #58: Plants Can Grow Faster by Listening to Music!


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Link #58: Plants Can Grow Faster by Listening to Music!

music notes
Image credit: photosteve101 cc2.0

Music truly has the ability to heal the soul. If you read our last post, you know that music has the ability to make our minds smarter and more agile. However, it isn’t only humans that music affects in this manner. Music has positive effects on other organisms too.

For instance, did you know that plants grow faster if certain types of music are played around them? In fact, in some cases, it’s even possible for the plants to lean towards the source of the music the way they reach out towards sunlight. Don’t believe us? Continue reading.

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Can Plants Really Listen and Respond to Music?

Rice up close
Rice field up close by Rowan Peter cc2.0

There is a lot of debate in the public space whether or not plants really respond to music. However, a scientist in South Korea, Mi-Jeong Jeong, has already proven that plants can listen and even respond to the right kind of music.

The scientist even managed to pinpoint the genes that respond to music in plants. There are two. The rbcS and the Ald genes become active when they hear sound within a certain range of frequencies.

What the scientist did was that he played 14 types of western classical pieces from Beethoven to fields full of rice plants. He, along with his team, monitored which genes became more active in the plant. This is how the rbcS and Ald genes were discovered.

They also discovered the frequency range that has a positive effect on the rice plants and the frequency that has a negative effect. According to them, plants respond more positively to sounds in the range of 125 Hz and 250 Hz while sounds around 50 Hz have a negative impact.

Is There Other Proof That Plants Can Listen To Music?

Healthy Strawberry plants
Healthy Strawberry plants by James Qualtrough cc2.0

In the last few years, there have been a number of studies and experiments as well as research on this subject, with most results being questioned. The most recent and definitive research is the South Korean one. However, there is another study that is more interesting, though less scientific.

This was research done by Dorothy Retallack in the fourth decade of the 20th century. What she did was play different types of music to plants in different control chambers. She didn’t only play different types of music styles such as rock, western classical, Indian classical, country and others but also experimented by changing the duration for which the music was played.

The purpose was to observe how the plants reacted to the music. Her discoveries were vast but she found a few interesting things. For instance, she found that plants respond better to sounds being played for a few hours each day than to either nonstop sound throughout the day or no sound at all.

In addition, she discovered that plants tend to like Indian classical and western classical music styles over rock and negative music styles. Essentially, she found that plants like music that is mellow and soothing as opposed to music that is on edge.

Retallack’s discoveries were circumstantial and can’t stand the test of scientific standards but they did give a hint to how plants respond to various types of sounds.

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