The Web of Life (68-2) Killer Quorum Mimic

 Killer Quorum Mimic

To have any chance of success, bacteria attack plants en masse. Little pathogens determine that they have the numbers on their side via chemical quorum-sensing communications.

Plants understand quite well how bacteria operate. To thwart a mass assault, plants concoct and release chemicals that mimic those used by bacteria to signal each other that the time to attack has come.

A plant fires off its molecular mimic before bacteria have sufficient numbers to tackle their target. The microbes invade before they have enough troops, whereupon the plant picks them off.