Carnivorous Plants Are Becoming Vegetarian Because Of Pollution

Carnivorous plant, such as the Venus flytrap, are apparently becoming less bug-eating and more root-using because of the pollution humans cause. Nitrogen in the air is giving them enough nutrients that they don't need to eat as many bugs.

It's actually a logical transformation that us excess-loving humans might find a hard time relating to. The plants have cut down on eating bugs because they get enough nutrients from the soil. They don't need to eat more and get fat! They don't need a super-size meal! How did this vegetarian trend start? Are naked celebrities covered in fur behind this? Not quite.

According to Dr Jonathan Millet from Loughborough University, human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, have upped the nitrogen in the air. The nitrogen drops to the ground with the rain and get inhaled by the carnivorous plants' roots. Plants in more heavily polluted areas only get 22 per cent of their nitrogen deposition through eating bugs, while plants who are, uh, planted in areas with light pollution snag 57 per cent of their nitrogen from bugs. That's a big difference! According to the study, the plants are turning off their bug-eating ways by making their leaves less sticky and changing its colours. Read more about the study here. [ via Inhabitat]

Image: Marco Uliana/Shutterstock

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    Bugs... yuck!! that's what they might be tasting like... Do you think the research is flawed given the lack of info on the presence, number, type (and taste) of the bugs around these plants?

    so how many less bugs are there due to polution that might be starving hte plants forcing them to use the alternative! HA

    Wow, Nitrogen which makes up 78% of what we breathe in is now called polution and it's our fault! When the time comes that Oxygen is called a pollutant I am packing up and returning to my home planet.

      That's molecular nitrogen (N2) which isn't chemically available for fertilising plants. This is referring to NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and other nitrogen compounds, which are much scarcer in the soil.

        Thanks for clarifying that Greg.
        I was also confused about how this increase in atmospheric nitrogen causes a higher than 100% increase in nitrogen uptake via a plants roots.

    Just waiting for the first creotard to scream "Microevolution!"....


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