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Green Leaf Volatiles (GLVs)

Context:

Recently, for the first time, scientists were able to visualise plants sensing compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLVs) released by other plants in danger.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Green Leaf Volatiles (GLVs)
  2. Volatiles

Green Leaf Volatiles (GLVs):

  • Green Leaf Volatiles (GLVs) stand out as a crucial category among plant volatiles, playing a pivotal role in various ecological interactions.
  • Composition: This group comprises six-carbon (C6) compounds, featuring a diverse array of substances such as alcohols, aldehydes, and esters. Notably, these aromatic messengers are emitted by nearly every plant.
Release Mechanisms:
  • Triggered Responses: GLVs are unleashed into the atmosphere in response to specific stimuli, primarily mechanical damage inflicted upon the plant or in reaction to herbivory, including attacks by fungi or bacteria.
Ecological Implications:
  • Multifaceted Roles: GLVs participate in a wide spectrum of ecological interactions. They exhibit the capacity to either repel or attract herbivores and their natural predators, showcasing their versatility in the plant kingdom.
Defence Mechanisms:
  • Dual Defence Strategies: Plants employ two major defence mechanisms triggered by molecular cascades. When subjected to damage, GLVs are released as by-products, initiating a series of reactions. This defense response aims to render the plant less palatable or even indigestible to potential insect attackers.
  • Calcium-Mediated Reactions: The intricate molecular cascade involved in plant defence is orchestrated by calcium, serving as a common mediator for both chemical and electrical signals. This calcium-mediated process underscores the sophistication of the plant’s defence strategy against external threats.

Volatiles

  • Volatiles refer to elements or compounds that undergo a phase change from a solid or liquid state to vapor at relatively low temperatures.
Common Examples:
  • Among the most prevalent volatiles are carbon dioxide, nitrogen, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, sulphur dioxide, and water. These substances are not only abundant in nature but also vital for the sustenance of living organisms.
Characteristic Features:
  •  A defining characteristic of volatiles is their ability to transition into a gaseous state at temperatures that are comparatively low, contributing to their dynamic presence in various natural processes.
Significance:
  • Essential for Life: The ubiquity of these volatiles, coupled with their transformative nature, underscores their indispensability in the intricate web of biological and ecological systems. They play a crucial role in sustaining life processes and maintaining environmental balance.

-Source: The Hindu


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