Some types of carnivorous plants, Nepenthesthey have switched from catching and digesting insects to using animal excrement for their daily dose of food – and it’s a change that seems to be very beneficial.
These poop eaters can absorb more nitrogen through their diet than others Nepenthes eat cold meat, scientists found. The difference is huge, even if the new food doesn’t sound that exciting.
There are other important lessons here about how plants can adapt and adapt to environmental challenges: by understanding more about plant behavior. Nepenthes they increase their nutrient intake, we can protect them better.
“The hands of Nepenthes species have changed from carnivores to carnivores,” says Alastair Robinson, a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria in Australia.
“We found that nitrogen uptake is twice as high in organisms that digest animal waste than in other organisms. Nepenthes.”
The team looked at six species and four hybrids of Nepenthes in Malaysian Borneo, analyzing tissue samples to determine the amount of nitrogen and carbon taken up from outside the plant.
Nitrogen is the main driver of photosynthesis and other plant processes, and scientists found that the heavy isotope 15N of nitrogen was the most abundant. Nepenthes compared to non-carnivorous plants, especially carnivores.
Being carnivores helps plants to obtain essential nutrients that they would otherwise not be able to obtain from nitrogen-poor soil. Due to the decrease in the number of insects at higher altitudes, it seems that some crops are turning to other sources of elemental production.
“Insect-eating insects are rare at 2,200-foot (7,218-meter) summits, so these plants obtain nutrients by collecting and storing low-value nitrogen sources such as tree droppings,” says Robinson.
Most of them Nepenthes Carnivores slip through the smooth surfaces and edges of the ‘barrel’ leaves and fall into the trap of water and stomach juices. As it was discovered in 2009, some plants have developed a very beneficial relationship with mountain tree shrews: the animals deposit nitrogenous waste in the bins while they eat fatty food on the plant covers.
Further research has shown similar relationships among others Nepenthes rats, birds, and bats. We now know that the trade of these products with animals is more profitable in terms of food capture than the capture of insects.
This new understanding can serve as a protective measure. There are others Nepenthes more endangered species than any other carnivorous plant species, and 40 percent of its species are listed as endangered, threatened, or currently threatened.
“Understanding the ecological requirements of species, particularly where species are affected by biodiversity challenges, is critical to the management and management of threatened plant species,” the researchers wrote in their published paper.
Research has been published in Notes on Botany.