Before of the Botany Department at India’s Annamalai

Before telling the people how I got into the of plants and their effect I should explain what got me into picking this topic. Let me introduce myself, I am Alvaro Varela, and I love music. My love for music started when I was little, my uncle would always drive me to places and when I got into his car he was always playing loud electronic music, and this sparked up an interest in my part, the love incremented when I got my first iPod for Christmas, I wanted music to always be a part of my life, so at the age of 14 I started to DJ just as a hobby, with a small chance that my dream to become big in the music industry would come true. To this day I still DJ playing at clubs from time to time but nothing big. So one day scrolling through facebook i ran into an article about music and its effect on different organisms. Since i like reading up on topics in the matter, i gave the article a look, and because of the article a question popped up in my head witch was, if music has emotional, energetic, and psychological effects on people, i wonder how it would affect plants? The deeper i got into the topic I started to realise that plants are surrounded by sounds and music twenty four hours a day, seven day a week let it be cars, people, animals, or any random sounds that are on the street. So what would happen to them if they were put up to a controlled experiment, so I looked it up. When i searched ¨what are the effect of music on plants?¨ i came out surprised with what I found. Why does this matter? Well, this leads me to choose my research topic, and what is my topic, ‘the effect of music on plants’This topic first came to life in 1962 by Dr. T. C Singh, head of the Botany Department at India’s Annamalai University, Singh worked with balsam plants, He found that plants have sensory perceptions and reacted to sound waves and vibrations when they are exposed to music from recorders. The balsam plants augmented by 20% in height and 72% in biomass when listening to classical music. After the success of his first experiment, he repeated his experiment only with the exception that he played on flute, violin, veena and harmonium, and playing music from a loudspeaker, and a gramophone. This time too, the plants did not turn him down and they responded with augmented growth in the size of crops which increased between 25 to 60% above the average; Through his several experiments, Singh concluded that the sound of the violin has the greatest effect on plant growth. This great topic sparked the interest of many other scientists, like Eugene Canby, and Dorothy Retallack. Working around the same time as Singh, Canadian engineer Eugene Canby exposed wheat to Bach’s violin sonata and observed a 66% increase in yield. Canby’s research reinforces Singh’s findings. Dorothy Retallack, another pioneer in the research for the effects of music on plants, initiated an experiment with the same species of plants in different laboratories and employing different genres of music. Dorothy Retallack published a small book called ‘The Sound of Music and Plants’. Her book explained the experiments that she had been conducting at the ‘Colorado Women’s College in Denver using the school’s three Biotronic Control Chambers.’ In her first experiment, Dorothy placed plants in each one of the three chamber and speakers through which she played the F note and particular styles of music. She watched the plants and recorded their progress daily. What she was able to discover thanks to the experiment that she had conducted was astonishing. Her first experiment was to simply play a constant F note. In the first of the three chambers. She played the F note continuously for eight hours. In the second, she played the F note for three hours at irregular intervals of time, and in the third chamber, she had nothing playing, no noise at all. The plants in the first chamber, with the constant F note, died within two weeks. The plants in the second chamber grew bigger, stronger, faster, and were extremely healthy, even more so than the plants in the third chamber, which had no noise at all. After conducting this experiment, she was inspired to retry the experiment although this time Dorothy used two chambers, and a fresh plants set of plants. She placed radios in each one of the chamber. In the first of the two chambers, she placed a radio which was tuned to a rock station, and in the second chamber, she placed a radio playing soothing music. Only three hours of music was played in each chamber per day, unlike her last experiment where she tested with different intervals in which she played music for the plants. On the fifth day, Dorothy began to notice that changes were occurring. In the second chamber where the soothing music was being played, the plants were growing healthily and the plants were starting to grow towards the radio like a sunflower turns to the sun. In the chamber where the rock music was being played, half the plants had small leaves and had grown tall, thin, and awkward, while the others were stunted preventing them from growing and developing properly. After two weeks, the plants in the soothing-music chamber were all the same or similar size, flourishing and green, and were ‘leaning between 15 and 20 degrees toward the radio.’ The plants in the rock chamber had ‘grown extremely tall and were drooping, the blooms had faded and the stems were bending away from the radio.’ On the sixteenth day, all but a few plants in the rock chamber were dying. In the other chamber, the plants were alive, beautiful, and growing abundantly. After her work was completed, her studies inspired, two other students who went on to do their own test, with similar objectives, to test for the effect of rock music versus the effect of soothing classical music. They exposed plants to ‘Hayden, Beethoven, Brahms, and Schubert grew towards and entwined themselves around the speakers.’ The other plant group the one for which rock music was being played for, died and went as far as to trying to climb a glass-walled enclosure in what appeared to be an attempt to get away from the sound. Because of this important discoveries, the future researchers would learn that Rock music will eventually kill the plants because of there upbeat, and energizing frequencies. At this point, there is one question most people would ask which is How could music affect plant growth if plants don’t have ears? Sound is a wave, and more specifically, a pulse wave. This simply means that it is formed by areas of higher and lower pressure in the atmosphere through which it travels. The waves cause the particles in the air to vibrate. When you switch on your radio, the sound waves create vibrations in the air that cause your eardrum to vibrate. This pressure energy is converted into electrical energy for the brain to translate into what you understand as music. In a similar manner, the pressure from sound waves create vibrations that could be picked up by plants. Plants would not hear the music; however, they can feel the vibrations of the sound wave. Protoplasm, the translucent living matter of which all animals and plant cells are composed, is in a state of perpetual movement. The vibrations picked up by the plant might speed up the protoplasmic movement in the cells. This stimulation then could affect the system and improve performance, such as the manufacture of nutrients that develop a stronger and better plant. Different forms of music have different sound wave frequencies and varying degrees of pressure and vibration. Louder music, like rock, features greater pressure, which some people think might have a detrimental effect on plants. To explain this in an easier manner, just imagine the effect of strong wind on a plant compared to a mild breeze, rock music is hard, and strong, while classical music is soft and mellow.Anindita Roy Chowdhury and Anshu Gupta are two researchers who were able to prove that vibration are caused in plants due to sound waves. They stated that sound energy also gets reflected and diffracted around the leaves and may thus affect the insects near the plants. Not only this, some reports even state that plants also emit acoustic waves. ‘Plant Acoustic Frequency Technology’ (PAFT) uses an acoustic frequency generator to produce appropriate acoustic wave that is similar to the frequency of the specific sound of the plant itself. It has been reported that if the applied frequency resonates with the plant’s natural frequency, then rate of photosynthesis and cell division increases leading to faster growth of plant and hence fruit bearing time for the plants under resonant frequency treatment is reached before the control plants. Anindita and Anshu tested this theory with sweet potato, cucumber and tomato indicated the improvement of crop quality and enhanced disease resistance capacity. The yields of sweet potato, cucumber and tomato exposed to the specific frequencies were 63%, 67% and 13% than those in the control group.Why is any of these important? Well because of the plethora of information that we now have about this topic, it is fear to say that this is a great thing. If plants can be influenced to grow faster, stronger, and with better yields, than this could mean the end to GMO’S. What are GMOs, GMOs are ‘genetically modified organisms’ which means that scientist tinker with the plants DNA, and use all sorts of different harmful chemicals, so that the plants grow stronger, faster, and so that they have a better overall yield. Sound familiar? GMOs are used to create the same effect on plants, that music has on them. But why change from GMOs to music? Chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in GMOs are hazardous for plants and in turn for the human population who consumes their product. Various studies have shown the positive effect of sound waves including music on various plant parts which ultimately led to a better and healthy yield of plants. Based on the exposure time, sound pressure levels and frequencies plants, in general, showed a positive growth trend and better immune system. Low frequency sound is known to activate enzymes, increase cell fluidity and enhance other growth parameters like DNA replication and cell cycling. Well, music is a healthier way for plants to augment in growth and yields naturally rather than by us playing god and forcing them with chemicals, and at the same time, it is a lot healthier for the environment, and for the consumers of the genetically engineered products. What proves is there that music has anywhere near the same effect that GMOs have on plants? Well at the moment it is mostly vineyards that have implemented the use of music to there crops; however, the few vineyards that are currently using music for the augmentation of their crops, are very happy. DeMorgenzon wine estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa, uses baroque music to enhance the ripening process. They believe the vibrations help not just of the plants but also in the soil and produce good fungi and bacteria in the soil that are vital for healthy vines, which encourages better and stronger root development, resulting in vigorous growth and better fruit. Another vineyard that uses classical music for their plants is Paradiso di Frassina in Tuscany, Italy, They classical music to get better production from their vineyards. They observed that plants mature faster when exposed to the soothing sounds of Mozart, Vivaldi, Haydn, and Mahler when compared to a controlled site. The project to wire the vineyard for musical sound started in 2001 as an attempt to keep pests away. However, when they saw better and improved plants and fruits, the project continued as a ‘productivity tool’. This shows that the use of music can be applied in a more industrial level rather than just an experimental level. Because of the positive results that all of these different places are getting from using music to stimuli plants so that they can have augmentation in their growth and development. In conclusion, Music is a great tool that helps with many things from parkinson patients, to even the augmentation in the growth, and yields of plants. Thanks to the works of Dr. T. C Singh, Dorothy Retallack, and Eugene Canby, and the usage and feedback on the usage from different winerys such as DeMorgenzon wine estate, and Paradiso di Frassina. We are now able to say that plants are affected not by music, but by vibrations in the air caused from different sounds, in a positive way with augmentation in there growth speed, growth, and there yields of crops. This is something important to know because in a future it might be the future of the agricultural industry, taking away the harmful use of GMOs, and bringing back the un tinkered fully organic crops that we had, with the positive attributions that GMOs provide.

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