Plants produce a wide spectrum of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) in various
tissues above and below ground to communicate with other plants and organisms. However,
BVOCs also have various functions in biotic and abiotic stresses. For example abiotic
stresses enhance BVOCs emission rates and patterns, altering the communication with
other organisms and the photochemical cycles. Recent new insights on biosynthesis
and eco-physiological control of constitutive or induced BVOCs have led to formulation
of hypotheses on their functions which are presented in this review. Specifically,
oxidative and thermal stresses are relieved in the presence of volatile terpenes.
Terpenes, C6 compounds, and methyl salicylate are thought to promote direct and indirect
defence by modulating the signalling that biochemically activate defence pathways.
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