Scientists: trees — non vegetarians

Scientists: trees — non vegetarians

People can be vegetarian, give up meat, what about trees? In the end, the trees just need soil, sun and water, isn’t it? Not quite, scientists say.

According to Nicholas money, Professor of botany Miami University, Ohio, plants are not vegetarians, but as they say, the devil is in the details, says Live Science.

These details are directly from what we put into the concept of vegetarianism.

Trees don’t eat animals directly, but they use them as food with the help of fungi

Long known that trees can produce sugar through photosynthesis, which uses sunlight for the reaction between water and carbon dioxide, resulting in the carbohydrates and oxygen. But trees also need such minerals as potassium, calcium, sodium and some other metals. And in order to obtain these nutrients they need the fungi.

In forest soil fungi are everywhere. This is a huge mycelium consists of millions of microscopic fibers that run in different directions. The mycelium is constantly absorb water from the soil and looking for food.

The mycelium produces enzymes called proteases which can break down fats and proteins from dead organisms in the soil, for example, nematodes — tiny worms. However, fungi cannot conduct photosynthesis, so they can’t get their own sugar.

To help the mushrooms comes symbiosis with trees. The mycelium intertwined with the roots of trees and establish two-way communication. The tree receives the missing minerals, and the fungi in turn sugar. Thus, the trees eat the animals.

“In this sense, all depends on the definition of vegetarianism may not think that trees are vegetarians, since they absorb some nutrients from animal remains”, says Mani.