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Plants that listen to music grow faster and healthier

Playing music for your plants may seem unusual, but now you may have a reason to. Scientists have discovered that music could help plants grow better and produce more food.

Acoustic farming

In what could be an unusual breakthrough in agriculture, researchers in China have discovered that music can significantly improve plant growth.

The study further establishes that plants that “listen” to music have been found to grow an impressive 10 percent more leaves, take in more sunlight, and produce more food. They call this groundbreaking concept “acoustic farming.”

Focus of the study

The research team from Tianjin Normal University, conducted extensive rounds of experiments with duckweed (Lemna turionifera). 

Duckweed or water lentils are perennial plants that float on or just underneath the water’s surface. They are usually found in slow-moving bodies of fresh water and wetlands.

The choice of duckweed was based on the plant’s protein and amino acid content richness. 

How the research was conducted 

For the experiment, scientists played the soothing sound of Bandri’s “The Purple Butterfly.” The plants were exposed to the soft music for a duration of five hours for seven consecutive days.

The researchers also maintained a 60-70 decibel sound level, equivalent to the loudness of a typical conversation.

What the researchers learned 

At the end of the experiment, the researchers compared the growth of the duckweed plants that listened to the music (musical plants) to those that did not (silent plants). 

The experts found that the music had considerable and immediate positive effects on the growth of the Duckweed plants. 

The musical plants performed better, recording about 10 percent higher leaf growth than the silent plants. The experts also found that the musical plants had significantly higher average protein content (8.89mg/g FW) than the silent plants (5.49 mg/g FW).

Improved photosynthesis 

The researchers observed that the duckweed exposed to the music processed light better. This prompted them to conclude that “music stimulation promoted photosynthesis by increasing the expression of photosynthesis-related genes with music treatment.”

Unknown mechanisms

Scientists have not yet determined the exact reasons for the positive impact of music on plant growth, but they uncovered a crucial clue. 

The sound vibrations from the music appeared to affect the functioning of the 1,298 genes in the plants. These include the genes controlling photosynthesis and hormonal regulation. 

“Our results provided reasonable evidence for elevated photosynthesis during music treatment. The results suggest music enhanced the ability to use light energy and provided new ideas for the research of plant acoustics,” the researchers noted.

Is acoustic farming the future?

The possibility of acoustic farming is fascinating. It could potentially revolutionize how we practice agriculture. However, this will depend on the success of future research to determine the exact mechanisms behind the observations in this study.

It may seem that King Charles saw the future when he admitted to talking to his plants during an interview in 1986. But unlike King Charles, we may have to do more than talking. 

Perhaps the right melody will help our plants do better and bring us more agricultural success.

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