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Crop Biotech Update

Research Reveals Plant Volatiles Released Deliberately

July 5, 2017

A team of scientists at Purdue University has found that plant volatile compounds, the chemicals responsible for scent, move to the outside of the cells to attract pollinators, defend the plant and perform other key functions.

According to Natalia Dudareva, distinguished professor of biochemistry and principal investigator of the project, volatile compounds are actively trafficked out of cells through the use of an ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC transporter), which moves substances across cell membranes. It has been previously assumed that the emission of volatile compounds was through diffusion, not active transport.

To determine the method for volatile transport, the team looked at petunia gene expression at bud stage, when no volatiles are released, and on the second day of flowering, when volatile release is at its highest. They observed that there is a significant difference in the expression of the gene that controls the ABC transporter. When the transporter is suppressed, the volatiles emitted significantly decreases.

For more details, read the Purdue University Agriculture News.