Plant “electrome” can be pushed toward a selforganized critical state by external cues: Evidences from a study with soybean seedlings subject to different environmental conditions

Gustavo Maia

In the present study, we have investigated how the low-voltage electrical signals of soybean seedlings change their temporal dynamic under different environmental conditions (cold, low light, and low osmotic potential). We have used electrophytografic technique (EPG) with sub-dermal electrodes inserted in 15-days-old seedlings located between root and shoot, accounting for a significant part of the individual seedlings. Herein, to work on a specific framework to settle this type of the study, we are adopting the term “electrome” as a reference to the totality of electrical activity measured. Taking into account the non-linear dynamic of the plants electrophysiology, we have hypothesized that the stimuli, as applied in a constant way, could push the system to a critical state, exhibiting spikes without a characteristic size, indicating self-organized criticality (SOC). The results from the power spectral density analysis (PSD), showed that the interval of the large majority of the b exponents were between 1.5 and 3, indicating that the time series, regardless environmental conditions, showed long-range temporal correlation (long memory for b61⁄4 0 and b61⁄4 2). The analyses from the histograms of the runs showed different patterns of distributions concerning the experimental conditions. However, the runs exhibiting typical spikes, mostly under low light and osmotic stress, showed power law distribution with exponent m ffi 2, which is an indicative for SOC. Overall, our results have confirmed that the temporal dynamic of the electrical signaling shows a complex non-linear behavior with long-range persistence. Moreover, the hypothesis that plant electrome can exhibit a self-organized critical state evoked by environmental cues, dissipating energy by bursts of electrical spikes without a characteristic size, was reinforced. Finally, new perspectives for research and additional hypothesis were presented.