Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 271–282 | Cite as

Citral Induces Auxin and Ethylene-Mediated Malformations and Arrests Cell Division in Arabidopsis thaliana Roots

  • E. Graña
  • T. Sotelo
  • C. Díaz-Tielas
  • F. Araniti
  • U. Krasuska
  • R. Bogatek
  • M. J. Reigosa
  • A. M. Sánchez-MoreirasEmail author


Citral is a linear monoterpene which is present, as a volatile component, in the essential oil of several different aromatic plants. Previous studies have demonstrated the ability of citral to alter the mitotic microtubules of plant cells, especially at low concentrations. The changes to the microtubules may be due to the compound acting directly on the treated root and coleoptile cells or to indirect action through certain phytohormones. This study, performed in Arabidopsis thaliana, analysed the short-term effects of citral on the auxin content and mitotic cells, and the long-term effects of these alterations on root development and ethylene levels. The results of this study show that citral alters auxin content and cell division and has a strong long-term disorganising effect on cell ultra-structure in A. thaliana seedlings. Its effects on cell division, the thickening of the cell wall, the reduction in intercellular communication, and the absence of root hairs confirm that citral is a strong phytotoxic compound, which has persistent effects on root development.


Terpenoid Phytotoxicity Mitotic index Pectin content Long-term effects Mode of action 



The authors especially thank Jesús Méndez and Inés Pazos from the Central Research Services of the University of Vigo (CACTI) for technical assistance on all the microscopic analyses. This research was supported by the Regional Government of Galicia through Project No. 10PXIB310261PR and a grant to Elisa Graña, and by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology AGL2010-17885 through a grant to Carla Díaz.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Graña
    • 1
  • T. Sotelo
    • 2
  • C. Díaz-Tielas
    • 1
  • F. Araniti
    • 3
  • U. Krasuska
    • 4
  • R. Bogatek
    • 4
  • M. J. Reigosa
    • 1
  • A. M. Sánchez-Moreiras
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology and Soil ScienceUniversity of VigoVigoSpain
  2. 2.Misión Biológica de Galicia (CSIC)PontevedraSpain
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Biotecnologie per il Monitoraggio Agro-Alimentare ed Ambientale (BIOMAA)Università Mediterranea di Reggio CalabriaReggio CalabriaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Plant PhysiologyWarsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGWWarsawPoland

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