New Phytologist Editors' choice: March 2016, 209:4

Last updated: 3 Feb, 2016

Plant volatiles

In late January and early February 2016 researchers will come together to participate in the 2016 Gordon Research Conference on the Diversity of Targets, Effects and Applications of Plant Volatiles. It is fitting, therefore, that we highlight not one article in this Editors’ choice, but a new collection of articles on the topic of plant volatiles. These articles have been brought together by New Phytologist Editor André Kessler to form our latest Virtual Special Issue. See Kessler (2016) for full details.


Figure 2 from Kessler 2016

Figure 2 from Kessler (2016). Flower of the Peruvian native wild tomato Solanum peruvianum L. (Solanaceae) visited by a Colletes sp. (Colletidae) bee. Solanum peruvianum provides an example for ‘herbivory-mediated pollinator limitation’ (Kessler et al. 2011). Herbivore-induced changes in floral volatile organic compound emission can affect pollinator attraction and, in consequence, plant fitness. (Photo:  André Kessler)


Over 1,700 volatile organic compounds (VOCs), from at least 90 plant families, have been identified to date. The reviews and research articles brought together in this collection explore not only the mechanisms of biosynthesis and physiology of plant VOCs, but also the ecological functions of plant VOCs and their role in mediating plant interactions with other organisms, from pollinators, herbivores and natural enemies of herbivores to other plants, as well as the effects of VOC emission induced by biotic stresses.


Read the Virtual Special Issue.


Kessler A. 2016. Introduction to a Virtual Special Issue on plant volatiles. New Phytologist 209: 1333–1337.

Kessler A., Halitschke R., Poveda K. 2011. Herbivory-mediated pollinator limitation: Negative impacts of induced volatiles on plant-pollinator interactions. Ecology 92: 1769-1780.