An Australian study has discovered that sound waves can accelerate soil fungi growth, unlocking the potential for improved ecosystem recovery.
The study, which was published by researchers from Flinders University on Tuesday, recorded rapid acceleration in soil fungi growth when exposed to sounds in a controlled environment.
Jake Robinson, a microbial ecologist at Flinders University and co-author of the research, said the findings showcase the potential for eco-acoustics to support ecosystem restoration, food production and composting.
"More than 75 percent of the world's soils are degraded, so we need to take radical steps to reverse the trend and start restoring biodiversity," he said in a media release.
"This research surprised us when one common plant growth-promoting fungi increased its initial number of spore cells biomass by almost five times compared to the control group where sound waves were at ambient levels."
The researchers buried regular tea bags to enable the growth of biomass as their organic contents degraded and subjected them to different levels of noise over 14 days.
They found that those that were exposed to high-pitched monotone sound waves at approximately 80 decibels (dBs) for up to eight hours a day produced more fungi growth than a control group subjected to 30 dBs of noise.
Study co-author Martin Breed said that, in addition to paving the way for improved vegetation regrowth, the findings could also lead to the reintroduction of lost species.