Navigation Links
Carnivorous plants use pitchers of 'slimy saliva' to catch their prey
Date:11/20/2007

Carnivorous plants supplement the meager diet available from the nutrient-poor soils in which they grow by trapping and digesting insects and other small arthropods. Pitcher plants of the genus Nepenthes were thought to capture their prey with a simple passive trap but in a paper in this weeks PLoS ONE, Laurence Gaume and Yoel Forterre, a biologist and a physicist from the CNRS, working respectively in the University of Montpellier and the University of Marseille, France show that they employ slimy secretions to doom their victims. They show that the fluid contained inside the plants pitchers has the perfect viscoelastic properties to prevent the escape of any small creatures that come into contact with it even when diluted by the heavy rainfall of the forest of Borneo in which they live.

Since Charles Darwins time, the mechanism of insect-trapping by Nepenthes pitcher plants from the Asian tropics has intrigued scientists but is still incompletely understood. The slippery inner surfaces of their pitchers have until now been considered the key trapping devices, while it was assumed that the fluid secretions were only concerned with digestion. Gaume and Forterre were able to combine their separate expertise in biology and physics to show that the digestive fluid of Nepenthes rafflesiana actually plays a crucial role in prey capture.

The pair took high-speed videos of flies and ants attempting to move through plants fluid. Flies quickly became completely coated in the fluid and unable to move even when diluted more than 90% with water. Physical measurements on the fluid showed that this was because this complex fluid generates viscoelastic filaments with high retentive forces that give no chance of escape to any insect that has fallen into it and that is struggling in it. That the viscoelastic properties of the fluid remain strong even when highly diluted is of great adaptive significance for these tropical plants which are often subjected to heavy rainfalls.

For insects, this fluid acts like quicksand: the quicker they move, the more trapped they become. Its constituency is closely akin to mucus or saliva, which, in some reptiles and amphibians, serves a very similar purpose. The exact makeup of this fluid, apparently unique in the plant kingdom, remains to be determined; however, it may point the way to novel, environmentally friendly approaches to pest control.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laurence Gaume
laurence.gaume@cirad.fr
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Emory paleontologist reports discovery of carnivorous dinosaur tracks in Australia
2. Layered approach may yield stronger, more successful bone implants
3. Clever plants chat over their own network
4. Plants can be used to study how and why people respond differently to drugs
5. Book on weeds and invasive plants discusses how to manage them using ecological approaches
6. A greenhouse in order to study the impact of climate change on plants
7. Agent that triggers immune response in plants is uncovered
8. Scientists ramp up ability of poplar plants to disarm toxic pollutants
9. A new baseline of invasive plants in Isabela
10. Hungry microbes share out the carbon in the roots of plants
11. Scientists warn that species extinction could reduce productivity of plants on Earth by half
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/18/2017)... 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and ... the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration ... Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at ... the Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... , April 6, 2017 ... RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, ... Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), ... Educational, Other) Are you looking for a ... sector? ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... The AMA is happy to announce that $48,000 in scholarships will be ... are created through funds donated by model aviation organizations and individuals, AMA members, and ... Scholarship Committee, which is made up of model aviation pilots and enthusiasts. The committee ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Austin, TX; Ultrecht, Netherlands (PRWEB) , ... April ... ... Qafis Biometrics Technology today announced their strategic partnership to offer a ... Qafis’ digital identity authentication, a comprehensive suite of biometric products and the ground-breaking ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 , ... NetDimensions appoints ... Sales. , With over 20 years of experience in the learning technologies industry, Mastin ... sister company within Learning Technologies Group plc (LTG). At LEO, Mastin served as SVP ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... , ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... of a unique intellectual property (IP) sharing and commercialization model. , The Center ... inventions. A main component of this effort is bringing the IP to the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: