The Effect of Music on Plant Growth and Pests
My 19-year old son plays guitar in the balcony having few houseplants.
One day he observed that those plants had grown better than others in the house, even after the same watering.
He wondered about it and came to me with a hypothesis, that it might be due to the music of his guitar.
I had read about the influence of music on the growth of plants.
I told him that the music affects man, animal, and plants which could be seen from the EEG reports, hormone levels, and cell growth respectively.
The Green Music
It combines the classical music base with natural sounds of songbirds, insects, water, the wind, etc. It increased the seed germination, growth, yield and metabolism of plants in the same way as the music increased the milk yield of cows.
Different plants like different sounds, as the cricket or insect sounds increased the growth, yield, and nutrition of oyster mushrooms. The cuckoo - insect mixed music of 400 Hz was found to increase the growth and height of cowpea plants.
The Effects of Words on Plants
Just asking the plants to grow better increases their growth. After two months of talking the weight of plants and fruits increased. But the effect of good and bad words was the same. The saying of prayers increased the wheat yield by 670 Kg/hectare. The height of plants increased 64% more by saying Gayatri Mantra for 5-10 minutes every day.
The Ruben Tube
Feelings in Plants
The animal and plant stimuli appear in their reactions. The plants are living organisms and they can feel and sense, as the 'touch me not' plant recoils and folds its leaves at a slight touch. Some plants jolt in pain on plucking the leaf, while some shudder in anticipation of being axed.
The cells that sense vibration shift and vibrate during their formation to encourage plant growth. These vibrations could be caused by sound.
The Indian scientist, Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose studied the effect of environment and music on plants. He found their response to light, cold, heat, noise, darkness and the nurturing attitude.
His vital theory of 1927, explains that the electrical and mechanical pulses of living cells cause the ascent of sap in plants. The theory of Dixon and Joly also confirmed the plant stimuli.
In 1995, Canny found with a Crescograph that the plant and animal tissues are the same. The response of plants to various stimuli is similar to that of the nervous system. He confirmed that the music increases and the noise decrease the plant growth. He revolutionized biophysics by proving that it is not the chemical but the electrical conduction which causes plant stimuli.
Wildon found changes in cell membrane due to microwaves and temperature or chemical inhibitors affecting the plant stimuli. He proved that the plants understand pain and affection.
The opening and closing of leaf stomata is influenced by stress, temperature, humidity and sound.Click thumbnail to view full-size
How Music Influences the Plants
The musical sounds influence plant growth in different forms and shapes as follows.
1. Gene Activation
Specific sound frequencies activate certain genes to increase the growth of plant cells.
2. Sound Resonance
Every object has its own resonant frequency and the resonance occurs when this frequency is played, as the breaking of window panes. The resonance occurs at molecular levels when the frequencies of music and plant cells match.
3. Effect on Stomata
The exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen between the environment and plant leads to growth. The air openings in the leaf cells called stomata stimulate such exchange. The music helps the stomata to remain wide open for an increased intake of foliage nutrients and water. Dan Carlson has used this technique in Sonic Bloom.
4. Effect on Cell Organelles
The fluid moves more rapidly and is intensely stirred around resonating objects. Certain frequencies create resonance in the cell organelles of living organisms by increasing the movement of cytoplasm within the cells which leads to the growth of cells.
It is the creation of micro-bubbles inside the liquids by certain frequencies. These bubbles resonate with sound, and pressure is created when they collapse. This pressure damages the contents, walls, and surroundings of cells. The resonant oscillations of bubbles cause micro currents which move the cytoplasm, molecules, and proteins within the cells.
6. Pressure Propagation
The sound pressure could be felt by placing the hands on the speaker. The compression and rarefaction of sound create a wave which travels in the medium by creating higher and lower pressure areas. Different vibrating patterns create a high or low pitch.
The plant cells feel the pressure of different vibrations and the variations and exposure time of which stimulate growth, diffusion, and stirring of liquid or air molecules in cells.
7. Movement of Protoplasm
The living organisms are composed of protoplasm, which constantly moves. This movement is lowest at dawn and dusk. The sounds vibrate the leaves and increase this movement which increases the growth of healthy plants by increasing the synthesis of food and nutrients.
8. Plant Hormone
The loud warble sound doubled the growth of dwarf pea plants. The plant hormone called gibberellic acid responds to sound and causes shoot elongation or seed germination. The effect disappeared when its biosynthesis was stopped by chemicals.
The Protein Synthesis in Plants
The plants prepare their amino-acids during photosynthesis and the chain of amino acids form proteins.
The DNA contains the genetic program of each cell to build specific proteins for amino acids. For this purpose, the messenger RNA or mRNA comes from the DNA with a copy of the information.
With this information, the transfer RNA or tRNA in the cell carry the amino-acids and bring them one by one to the ribosome to get attached to another amino acid to form a chain and thus the protein is formed.
The Scale Resonance theory by Joel Sternheimer
This theory was given by the French physicist and musician Joel Sternheimer, the student of the famous physicist Louis De Broglie. He extended the De Broglie's wave theory and found music in the vibration patterns of elementary particles and discovered how sound affects the protein biosynthesis in plants.
He found that the amino-acid emits a signal when it is being brought by its tRNA to be linked onto the ribosome. This signal or quantum wave called scaling links the scale of each amino-acid to the scale of processing protein.
When a wave is emitted from an amino-acid, the second slower wave arrives after a time twice as long, and a third one thrice as long and so on. The periodic superposition of waves occurs when a chain of amino acids is formed.
The successive waves were converted into audible sound by transposing them into octaves in a synthesizer. These protein melodies create scale resonance in plants and animals.
The Plant Melodies of Joel Sternheimer
The plant melodies are the multiple frequencies that occur when amino acids form proteins. Each note and tune correspond to a particular amino acid and the entire protein chain respectively.
The order of sequences gives a unique tune for the production of specific or similar proteins in a particular plant. The length of the musical note is equal to the actual time taken by each amino acid to get attached to a chain.
Melodies for Weedicides
The same phase melodies promote the protein biosynthesis, while those in opposite phase oppose it. So the growth of desirable plants is increased and that of undesirable ones or weeds are inhibited.
These short notes are played only once a day. The tones for four amino acids are played per second. Playing six melodies for three minutes a day made the tomatoes sweeter and 2.5 times larger.
The sound sequences can affect the health of human beings.
Plant Music by Mort Garson (1976)
Different Effects of Sound
Different frequencies affect different plants differently at different stages of growth. They,
1.) Decreased the biomass production of yeast cells by 14%,
2.) Increased the fruit size of edible mushrooms by 43.3%,
3.) Extended the picking period of edible mushrooms by 3-8 days,
4.) Reduced the amount of chemical fertilizer and pesticide by 15 to 25%,
5.) Decreased the diseases of the plants and improved the plant immune systems,
6) Helped to get the herbicides into the plant.
The music of guitar or violin played for about 30 minutes morning and evening
a) Increased the yield and quality of wheat grain.
b) Germinated straighter flower plants of long-lasting and abundant flowers in striking colors,
c) Increased the quality and yield of various vegetables, sugarcane, and rice.
The effect of sound on plants appears after several weeks. The plants thrive in intermittent tone, while the continuous music kills them. The ideal dose of music for three hours a day doubles the growth of healthy plants.
The Increased Yield
In callus cells or the cells that cover the plant wound, the sound at 1000 Hz and 100 dB at 20 cm for 1 hour increased the cell division, RNA content, growth, sugar contents, enzymes, and hormones.
The variable frequency generator of 60-2000 Hz and 50-120 dB at 50-100 meters increased the plant immunity against diseases, insects, and pests. The frequency when adjusted according to the temperature and humidity for 1- 3 hours in the morning increased the yield of different crops as follows,
a) Sweet pepper by 30.05%
b) Cucumber by 37.1%
c) Tomato by 13.9%,
d) Lettuce by 19.6%
e) Spinach by 22.7 %
f) Cotton by 11.4%
g) Rice in pots by 25.0 %
h) Rice in the open field by 5.7%
i) Wheat by 17.0%
j) Edible mushrooms by 15.8%
k) Yeast cells by 12%
l) Treated cotton by 12.7%
m) Spinach by 22.7 %
Ultrasound and Plants
The sound vibrations pass through the plants and affect the growth at the sub-molecular level. The sound frequencies are,
1) The subsonic or infrasound frequency up to 20 Hz resulting even from a slight pressure of a hydraulic jack.
2) The audible frequency of 20-20,000 Hz could be heard by human beings, but women can hear beyond this range.
3) Ultrasound frequency above 20,000 Hz is beyond the audible range and ultrasonic thermal radiations are felt as heat.
The ultra and infrasounds interact with tissues and cells through thermal or mechanical ways. The animals and insects produce and hear sounds beyond the human range.
Charles Darwin explored the effect of sound on plants but failed, as he used audible range. The effect was found by the electronic oscillators of 20,000 to 50,000 Hz.
In bright sunlight, the ultrasounds stimulated the enzymes and respiration of plants and seeds of barley, sunflower, spruce, jack pine, pea, etc.
The frequency of 20,000 Hz gives the highest growth, but the best sound is of 5,000 Hz. The sound at 400-800 Hz at 100 dB an hour every day is best for seed germination.
When kept in a pyramid for some time every day, the seed germination, flowers, fruits, and overall growth increased up to 50%.
The various sound frequencies cause,
1) Noise pollution,
2) Severe health problems in animals like reduced appetite, loss of weight and sometimes death,
3) Increased pollination by birds,
4) Less seed dispersal by animals,
5) Unknown environmental effects,
6) Earsplitting for pets.
Precautions against Sound Hazards
1. Use it early in the morning between 5 to 9 AM
2. Decrease sound pressure by increasing the interaction area
3. Remove the confusion about frequencies and exposure time
4. The foliage spray of nutrients after sound waves gives good results.
5. The tweeter is better, as the conventional speaker cannot play high frequencies.
The Insects and Virus Affected by SoundClick thumbnail to view full-size
Music as a Fertilizer
The ultraviolet light, heat, mechanical devices, hormone supplements, and fertilizers help in plant growth but the chemicals damage the environment and plants.
But the cheap and non-polluting sound increases production strengthens the immune system and decreases the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides by 50%.
Melodies for Pests
1. The sound strengthens the pest immunity by creating stress among plant insects.
2. The classical music reduced the 30 days lifespan of male Drosophila Melanogaster and that of the spider mites.
3. The sound of 3-5 K Hz attracts birds and butterflies to prey upon mosquitoes and pests.
4. The sound of 55 Hz and 120 dB for half an hour reduced the major threat to citrus fruits by 45% by killing the Chinese citrus fly. It also decreased several viruses, gray molds, late blight, etc.
5. The mosaic virus in tomato plants was reduced as the enzymes for the virus were not synthesized.
6. The green music decreased the aphid or plant lice damage to cabbage and sheath blight in rice by 50%.
7. The damage by corn borer moths got reduced from 50% to 5% by the sound of 5 K Hz from sunrise to sunset, while the higher frequencies controlled the insects in stored wheat.
Music of Wind Chime
The wind chime can create the natural sound frequencies of nature.
They resonate with the frequency of 432 Hz.
These are made of the tubes of stainless steel which are fitted on the hardwood.
The length of the biggest tube is around 110 cm.
These large wind chimes sound like the bells of a church.
All the tubes are tuned to the musical notes in harmony with 432 Hz.
This sound of chimes brings balance and harmony in the surrounding.
Music in Indian Legends
The notes of the flute of Lord Krishna ensnared the women, gopis, cows, and birds. The vegetation was no exception. The sound of His conch could disperse the clouds and turn the tides.
Taan Sen, the court musician of Akbar could cause rains, light the lamps or induce plants to blossom with the songs and notes of his ragas. His contemporary Baiju Bawara could melt the stones and tame the wild animals with his notes.
The Findings of Dr. Singh
After several experiments, he found that harmonic sound of Indian ragas and classical music increased,
1. The genetic chromosomes of some water plants and the growth of flowers.
2. The production of peanuts, and tobacco by 50%, the yield of vegetables by 40%, the height and biomass of balsam plants by 20% and 72% respectively and the size of field crops up to 60%.
3. The growth, flowering, fruiting and seeds of plants.
4. The thickness of epidermal walls by 50% and the number of stomata per unit area by 67%.
5. The yield of several varieties of rice and the growth of seeds, leaves and saplings of wheat up to 60%.
Classical V/S Alternative Music
The Earliest Experiments of T.C.N. Singh
In 1950, Professor Julian Huxley, the brother of novelist Aldous Huxley came to Annamalai University at Madras in India. He found Dr. T.C.N Singh, the head of the Department of Botany, observing the effect of sound on the live movement of protoplasm in the cells of the transparent leaves of Hydrilla, an aquatic weed.
This movement or streaming of protoplasm generally increases after sunrise and it activates the cell metabolism needed for plant growth. He successfully moved the protoplasm at its afternoon speed by an electric tuning fork placed 6 feet from the leaves for half an hour before sunrise.
The same results were found by flute, violin, harmonium, sitar and the high pitched south Indian violin music at 100-600 Hz.
In the absence of music the petunias, daisies, and marigold bloomed two weeks earlier by the rhythmic feet vibrations of Bharata-Natyam, the ancient classical dance.
At the same time, Eugene Canby in Canada confirmed the 66%increase in the wheat yield due to violin sonatas.
The Research of Dorothy
In 1973, Dorothy Retallack, the researcher at the Colorado Woman’s College Denver, conducted a detailed scientific research effect of music on plants. She explained the results of her experiments in her book, “The Sound of Music and Plants” and found that the continuous music killed the plants. But the fading flowers get a new lease of life and blossom to fullest in presence of soft music.
What Type of music
The effect depends on plant species, type of music and the frequency, duration or pressure of sound. The fewer beats of higher frequencies per minute increase the yields. Use small capacitors to increases the frequency in personal experiments or change the timing and the pitch.
Types of Instruments
The same music on string instruments bent the plants more towards the speaker than the percussion instruments. The sounds of 115-250 Hz stimulate those plant genes that respond to visible light for photosynthesis.
The music heavy on basses like rap, Beatles, and noisy Rock damages the plants as is done by excess water or strong winds. The plants lean away from such music and sometimes die.
According to the Medical Association of California, the amplified hard rock music caused permanent hearing loss in 41 out of 43 musicians.
The plants entwined the speakers playing Hayden, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Mozart, Vivaldi, Mahler, Bach, and Indian Classical Music or Ragas or Vedic music. The plants grow better, large, uniform and lush green with healthy stems in such soft music.
The heavy metal, new age and Celtic music increase the plant mass and fruit taste.
Country and Western Music
Plants remained indifferent to such music.
It also leads to increased growth.
The Sonic Bloom, Plant Growth and Pests
Dan Carlson in the USA used the sound of oscillating frequency generator to open the leaf stomata to increase the plant metabolism by the nutrient spray. The absorption of nutrients increases through these open breathing holes.
This sound of 3 to 5000 Hz resembles the sound of bird songs at dawn.
Type of Nutrient Spray
The intake doubles or triples by sound stimulation, so the spray should be of natural, organic and non-toxic containing little minerals and amino acids. The plant extract or seaweed-based spray without additives are the best.
This method increases,
1.) The harvest and the contents of its nutrients,
2.) The taste, size and shelf or storage life of vegetables and fruits,
3.) The rapid growth and health of plants, trees, herbs, fruits, and flowers,
4.) The seed germination, roots, and plant growth,
5.) The production of nuts and walnuts,
6.) The movement of protoplasm in the cells,
7.) The consistency in size of fruits and vegetables,
8.) The plant adaptations in an alien environment and unfavorable climate,
9.) The immunity and resistance to pests and diseases,
10.) The frost resistance and reduces cell damage,
11.) The nutrient intake by 50-700%,
12.) The benefits of market competition by reducing the growing season from 1-3 weeks.
Use the sound every day or during the foliage spray at dawn or dusk.
Do not spray more than once a week.
The sound should begin 30 minutes before and stop 2 hours after the spray.
This method is not the substitutes of regular fertilization.
Don’t play the sound at midday in summers, as it increases water loss by evaporation.
The Sonic Bloom
Effect on Vineyards
The nonstop, non-repetitive classical baroque music played in vineyard and wine cellar for a week produced stronger roots and better fruits. It kept the pests away, produced more fungi and bacteria in the soil, increased the shoot growth, plant health, total leaf area per vine and the sugar content in grapes.
The insect sounds and insect-music mixed sounds increased the plant growth in which the latter was better. With exception to soybean, it increased the overall growth of cabbage, green-grocery, etc.
Not the yield, but the growth, strength, leaf color and immunity of plants increased and the flowers and fruits appeared a week earlier.
It increased the sugar levels, protein synthesis, division and growth of callus cells, plant tissues, roots, and flowers.
The seedling grew more rapidly; the plant doubled in 2 weeks and increased 90-150% more in 4 weeks. The production of growth hormone increased with 1 watt sound of 5 kHz for 12 hours daily.
The sound increased the seed sprouting, uniform plant growth, strong corn, and 20 bushels more per acre.
The Response of Plants to Music
The plants absorb, resonate and produce sound waves of 50-120 Hz. To study the response of plants, an electronic gadget called Plantone has been developed in Japan. The device measures the electrical activity due to sound and registers its response in plants.
When two sensor clips are attached to plant leaves, the red light shows the positive response of strong electrical current within the cells. The green light is for the negative response of weak electrical signals or high volume and frequency.
The Plantone device
Plants play music
The Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) converts the biological signals of plants into music.
The changes in the leaf-like its response to light etc. are assigned a random number corresponding to a musical note.
These electrical signals are wired to the hardware, converted into MIDI and sent to the software to compose the electronic music.
Books to Be Read About Music and Plants
1. ‘The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication', written by Charles Darwin in 1868.
2. The 'Response in the Living and Non-Living' and ‘The Nervous Mechanism of Plants' in 1902 1926 respectively by Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose.
3. ‘The Sound and Music of Plants’ by Dorothy Retallack in 1973.
4. ‘The Secret Life of Plants’, by Harper and Row in 1989.
Possibilities in Future
1. Different plants show different responses to music in different stages of growth. So, further studies in the field are needed.
2. Certain sound frequencies are to be found to increase and inhibit the growth of desirable and undesirable plants respectively.
3. This method has to be perfected and popularized to increase global production.
4. The present data is not sufficient and further scientific study is needed for accurate results.
5. Further Reading- The Effect of Music on Human Health and Brain Growth.
Questions & Answers
What are the effects of rock music on plants?
It has been found that the plants do not show a positive inclination towards rock music. Strangely, they prefer light sounds and classical music.Helpful 2
- Helpful 1
I don't see much on how infrasound, below 20 Hz affects the growth of plants and seed production. Are there experiments done with very low frequencies below 20 HZ?
Yes, there has been sufficient research to testify that certain frequencies produce the desired results. Even the seeds are subjected to certain levels of sounds before sowing.
© 2014 Sanjay Sharma