16 Dec 2018

Plants don't like the human touch, study finds

6:24 pm on 16 December 2018

Researchers suggest a look and don't touch approach to your vegetable garden this summer, after finding touching plants can stunt their growth.

13711669 - vegetables in the garden

Photo: 123RF

Professor Jim Whelan of La Trobe University in Melbourne led the research.

He says the lightest touch from humans, animals, insects or even other plants triggers a significant gene response in the plant.

"What this shows us is it probably gives us the reason for that because what's happening is probably just like any organism or human is when you have to turn on your defence response and put resources into that, you can't use those resources for growth."

Professor Whelan says the research provides a deeper understanding of genetic defence in plants, and could lead to optimised growth of crops.