Bacteria are hypothesized to provide a variety of beneficial functions to plants. Many carnivorous pitcher plants, for example, rely on bacteria for digestion of captured prey. This bacterial community may also be responsible for the low surface tensions commonly observed in pitcher plant digestive fluids, which might facilitate prey capture. I tested this hypothesis by comparing the physical properties of natural pitcher fluid from the pitcher plant Darlingtonia californica and cultured ‘artificial’ pitcher fluids and tested these fluids' prey retention capabilities. I found that cultures of pitcher leaves' bacterial communities had similar physical properties to raw pitcher fluids. These properties facilitated the retention of insects by both fluids and hint at a previously undescribed class of plant–microbe interaction.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3571608.
- Received July 6, 2016.
- Accepted October 26, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.