Plants are ‘biting’ back

Calcium phosphate is a widespread biomineral in the animal kingdom: Bones and teeth largely consist of this very tough mineral substance. Researchers from Bonn University could now for the first time demonstrate the presence of calcium phosphate as a structural biomineral in higher plants. The substance provides the necessary “bite” to the stinging hairs of representatives of the rock nettle family (Loasaceae). It hardens the trichomes, which serve as a herbivore defense. Conversely, our native stinging nettles have stinging hairs hardened by glass-like silica. The results of the study are now published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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(e) Science News – Paleontology & Archaeology

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