The Science Daily recently posted an article about Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech,  that has made an amazing discovering in the way plants communicate.

Westwood discovered that during aparasitic relationshipplants exchanged thousands of molecules to tell each other what the other plant should do. He specifically observed how the dodder, a life sucking parasitic plant, interacted with two host plants: the Arabidopsis and tomatoes.

He discovered that during this parasitic interaction, there is a transport of RNA between the two species. RNA translates information passed down from DNA, which is an organism’s blueprint.

This discovery has exciting ramifications that, as the article points out, begs the question what exactly is being said during these molecular conversations? Not only will this discovery further advance the industry, it will also give scientists new insight into ways to fight parasitic weeds that wreak havoc on food crops in some of the poorest parts of the world.

Scientists are now able to dig a bit further to determine if other organisms such as bacteria and fungi also exchange information in the same way. This research can help tackle issues of food scarcity and thus help increase yields around the globe.

A quote on in a press release  by Virginia Tech states: Parasitic plants such as witchweed and broomrape are serious problems for legumes and other crops that help feed some of the poorest regions in Africa and elsewhere, said Julie Scholes, a professor at the University of Sheffield, U.K., who is familiar with Westwoods work but was not part of this project. In addition to shedding new light on host-parasite communication, Westwoods findings have exciting implications for the design of novel control strategies based on disrupting the mRNA information that the parasite uses to reprogram the host.”

Professor Scholes makes a great point. The potential effect Westwoods findings can have on the agricultural product industry are significant. As a formulator and manufacturer of agricultural products rooted in sustainability, were always looking for discoveries like this from which we can learn. Our scientists have dedicated years to biological research to successfully develop control products that are highly effective and environmentally safe.

Understanding how plants, bacteria, and fungi communicate, will improve the way all-natural fertilizers and pesticides are developed while reducing the demand for harsh chemical products. Our products have proven that combating pests, diseases, and other environmental stressors can be done naturally. This new discovery works to further elevate the work that we’ve been doing.

If we can understand communication on this level, we have the ability to interrupt communication between plants, bacteria, and fungi that post a threat to healthy crops. Imagine the possibilities of being able to gather plant intelligence that can be used to defeat threats to healthy crops.