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      Methyl Eugenol: Its Occurrence, Distribution, and Role in Nature, Especially in Relation to Insect Behavior and Pollination


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          This review discusses the occurrence and distribution (within a plant) of methyl eugenol in different plant species (> 450) from 80 families spanning many plant orders, as well as various roles this chemical plays in nature, especially in the interactions between tephritid fruit flies and plants.

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          Defensive function of herbivore-induced plant volatile emissions in nature.

          Herbivore attack is known to increase the emission of volatiles, which attract predators to herbivore-damaged plants in the laboratory and agricultural systems. We quantified volatile emissions from Nicotiana attenuata plants growing in natural populations during attack by three species of leaf-feeding herbivores and mimicked the release of five commonly emitted volatiles individually. Three compounds (cis-3-hexen-1-ol, linalool, and cis-alpha-bergamotene) increased egg predation rates by a generalist predator; linalool and the complete blend decreased lepidopteran oviposition rates. As a consequence, a plant could reduce the number of herbivores by more than 90% by releasing volatiles. These results confirm that indirect defenses can operate in nature.
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            The shikimate pathway links metabolism of carbohydrates to biosynthesis of aromatic compounds. In a sequence of seven metabolic steps, phosphoenolpyruvate and erythrose 4-phosphate are converted to chorismate, the precursor of the aromatic amino acids and many aromatic secondary metabolites. All pathway intermediates can also be considered branch point compounds that may serve as substrates for other metabolic pathways. The shikimate pathway is found only in microorganisms and plants, never in animals. All enzymes of this pathway have been obtained in pure form from prokaryotic and eukaryotic sources and their respective DNAs have been characterized from several organisms. The cDNAs of higher plants encode proteins with amino terminal signal sequences for plastid import, suggesting that plastids are the exclusive locale for chorismate biosynthesis. In microorganisms, the shikimate pathway is regulated by feedback inhibition and by repression of the first enzyme. In higher plants, no physiological feedback inhibitor has been identified, suggesting that pathway regulation may occur exclusively at the genetic level. This difference between microorganisms and plants is reflected in the unusually large variation in the primary structures of the respective first enzymes. Several of the pathway enzymes occur in isoenzymic forms whose expression varies with changing environmental conditions and, within the plant, from organ to organ. The penultimate enzyme of the pathway is the sole target for the herbicide glyphosate. Glyphosate-tolerant transgenic plants are at the core of novel weed control systems for several crop plants.
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              Significance of flavonoids in plant resistance and enhancement of their biosynthesis.

              D Treutter (2005)
              The roles of flavonoids in plant defence against pathogens, herbivores, and environmental stress are reviewed and their significant contribution to plant resistance is discussed. The induction of flavonoids is of particular interest for gathering evidence of their roles. Tools are mentioned which may enhance flavonoid biosynthesis and accumulation. These include metabolic engineering and UV light. The induction of defence-related flavonoids is modified by other determining factors and competition between growth and secondary metabolism may exist. In an evolutionary context, stress-related oxidative pressure may have been a major trigger for the distribution and abundance of flavonoids. UV protection is one of their most significant, or even the most significant, functional role for flavonoids. The multi-functionality of these compounds, however, often complicates the interpretation of experimental results but, overall, it supports the importance of flavonoids.

                Author and article information

                J Insect Sci
                J. Insect Sci
                Journal of Insect Science
                University of Wisconsin Library
                24 April 2012
                : 12
                : 56
                [ 1 ]Tan Hak Heng, 20, Jalan Tan Jit Seng, 11200 Penang, Malaysia
                [ 2 ]Laboratory of Chemical Ecology, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606–8502, Japan
                Author notes
                [*] [ * ]Corresponding author

                Editor: Todd Shelly was editor of this paper.

                © 2012

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 28 April 2011
                : 27 August 2011
                Page count
                Pages: 20

                plant-insect interactions,floral fragrance,plant semiochemicals,sex pheromone,tephritid fruit flies,allomone,chemical ecology,insect pollinators,bactrocera,synomone,attractant


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