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科学美国人60秒: 小麦“打喷嚏”并传播疾病

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Wheat Plants "Sneeze" and Spread Disease

小麦“打喷嚏”并传播疾病

Humans can spread disease by sneezing. But less well known is the wheat plant's ability to do something strangely similar, from its leaves. "It's basically analogous to a human sneeze, in terms of, you have a very fast and sudden expulsion of droplets that contain the disease or pathogen inside of it, and they get thrown away from the surface."

人类可以通过打喷嚏传播疾病。但鲜为人知的是,小麦也能从它的叶子中做一些奇怪的类似的事情。“从根本上说,这就像人类打喷嚏一样,飞沫会迅速、突然地排出含有疾病或病原体的飞沫,然后飞沫就会从表面被抛出。”

Jonathan Boreyko, a mechanical engineer at Virginia Tech. He and his team were studying the ability of wheat plants to expel spores of a common pathogen, the wheat rust fungus, from their leaves via this unusual mechanism. So they inoculated wheat plants with the disease, created dew on the plants' leaves, and then studied the ensuing action with high speed microscopy.

Jonathan Boreyko是弗吉尼亚理工大学的机械工程师,他和他的团队正在研究小麦植株通过这种不寻常的机制将一种常见病原体——小麦锈菌的孢子从叶片中排出的能力。因此,他们给小麦植株接种了这种疾病,在植株的叶子上形成露水,然后用高速显微镜研究了随之而来的作用。

Here’s what they saw: the leaves are extremely hydrophobic—meaning water beads up to minimize contact with the surface. And when two or more drops touch, energy gets released in the form of a catapulting action, which "sneezes" the droplets into the air, several millimeters above the leaf surface. The droplets can then be picked up by light breezes or simply fall, and spread to other plants. The process is surprisingly effective at launching spores: the researchers figure each leaf can launch 100 spores per hour during a morning dew. The results—and photos of the jumping drops—are in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Saurabh Nath et al, ‘Sneezing’ plants: pathogen transport via jumping-droplet condensation

他们的发现是这样的:树叶非常疏水,这意味着上面的水珠可以减少与表面的接触。当两颗或两颗以上的水滴接触时,能量以弹射动作的形式释放出来,弹射动作将水滴“打喷嚏”到离叶子表面几毫米高的空气中。小水滴可以被微风吹起,也可以直接飘落下来,然后传播到其他植物上。这个过程在发射孢子方面出奇地有效:研究人员发现,在晨露期间,每片叶子每小时能发射100个孢子。研究结果和跳高运动员的照片发表在《英国皇家学会界面》杂志上。

Next, Boreyko and his team want to see what happens if they spray stuff on the leaves that changes the way dew forms. "If we change the wettability of the leaves so they're no longer super hydrophobic, now the dew drops will be unable to jump when they grow. They'll just sort of cling to the leaf surface and not be jumping anymore."Such treatment could perhaps put a stop to wheat sneezes, and slow down the transmission of disease.

接下来,Boreyko和他的团队想看看如果他们在叶子上喷洒改变露水形成方式的物质会发生什么。“如果我们改变树叶的润湿性,让它们不再具有超强的疏水性,那么现在露珠在生长时就无法跳跃。”它们会粘在叶子表面,不再跳跃。“这样的治疗也许可以阻止小麦打喷嚏,减缓疾病的传播

Wheat Plants "Sneeze" and Spread Disease

Humans can spread disease by sneezing. But less well known is the wheat plant's ability to do something strangely similar, from its leaves. "It's basically analogous to a human sneeze, in terms of, you have a very fast and sudden expulsion of droplets that contain the disease or pathogen inside of it, and they get thrown away from the surface."

Jonathan Boreyko, a mechanical engineer at Virginia Tech. He and his team were studying the ability of wheat plants to expel spores of a common pathogen, the wheat rust fungus, from their leaves via this unusual mechanism. So they inoculated wheat plants with the disease, created dew on the plants' leaves, and then studied the ensuing action with high speed microscopy.

Here’s what they saw: the leaves are extremely hydrophobic—meaning water beads up to minimize contact with the surface. And when two or more drops touch, energy gets released in the form of a catapulting action, which "sneezes" the droplets into the air, several millimeters above the leaf surface. The droplets can then be picked up by light breezes or simply fall, and spread to other plants. The process is surprisingly effective at launching spores: the researchers figure each leaf can launch 100 spores per hour during a morning dew. The results—and photos of the jumping drops—are in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Saurabh Nath et al, ‘Sneezing’ plants: pathogen transport via jumping-droplet condensation

Next, Boreyko and his team want to see what happens if they spray stuff on the leaves that changes the way dew forms. "If we change the wettability of the leaves so they're no longer super hydrophobic, now the dew drops will be unable to jump when they grow. They'll just sort of cling to the leaf surface and not be jumping anymore."Such treatment could perhaps put a stop to wheat sneezes, and slow down the transmission of disease.


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