Biotech Updates

Study Reveals Biology, Not Just Physics, Controls Release of Plant Scent

August 12, 2015

A research conducted at Purdue University suggests that volatiles - active biological mechanisms - transport scent and taste compounds from plant cells to the atmosphere, a finding that could overturn the textbook model of volatile emission as a process that occurs solely by diffusion.

Volatiles, which were previously thought to be diffused through the plant's porous outer cuticle, play key roles in plant pollination, reproduction, defense, and communication. A research team led by Natalia Dudareva found that there are differences between the observed volatile release rates and the mathematics of the diffusion model. Toxic amounts of volatiles would accumulate in plant cell membranes if diffusion were the only mechanism at work in their release. The team suggests that biological mechanisms must also transport volatiles. John Morgan, professor of chemical engineering, and one of the researchers said that volatile emission must involve more than physics, which generally dictates the way compounds are released.

For more details, read the news article at the Purdue University website.