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Bioelectrochemistry. 2009 Jun;75(2):142-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bioelechem.2009.03.005. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Electrical memory in Venus flytrap.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL 35896, USA.


Electrical signaling, memory and rapid closure of the carnivorous plant Dionaea muscipula Ellis (Venus flytrap) have been attracting the attention of researchers since the XIX century. The electrical stimulus between a midrib and a lobe closes the Venus flytrap upper leaf in 0.3 s without mechanical stimulation of trigger hairs. Here we developed a new method for direct measurements of the exact electrical charge utilized by the D. muscipula Ellis to facilitate the trap closing and investigated electrical short memory in the Venus flytrap. As soon as the 8 microC charge for a small trap or a 9 microC charge for a large trap is transmitted between a lobe and midrib from the external capacitor, the trap starts to close at room temperature. At temperatures 28-36 degrees C a smaller electrical charge of 4.1 microC is required to close the trap of the D. muscipula. The cumulative character of electrical stimuli points to the existence of short-term electrical memory in the Venus flytrap. We also found sensory memory in the Venus flytrap. When one sustained mechanical stimulus was applied to only one trigger hair, the trap closed in a few seconds.

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