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Journal Article

Insects turn up their noses at sweating plants


Gershenzon,  J.
Department of Biochemistry, MPI for Chemical Ecology, Max Planck Society;

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Gershenzon, J. (2008). Insects turn up their noses at sweating plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(45), 17211-17212. doi:10.1073/pnas.0809528105.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-A5DF-9
Green plants are now being widely touted in both the popular press and scientific literature as factories for biofuels. However, like many factories, plants emit a variety of gaseous byproducts directly into the atmosphere. Besides carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water vapor, a host of terpenes are released, ranging from the simple 5-carbon compound isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) to the 10-carbon monoterpenes and the 15-carbon sesquiterpenes (1). Terpene emission from plants has been widely studied by atmospheric chemists because of its prominent effects on ozone levels and aerosol formation (2). Plant biologists have also joined in to determine what roles emitted terpenes might have in the lives of the plants that release them. Two main lines of inquiry have been followed.