Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 81, Issue 1–4, pp 357–364 | Cite as

The consequences of volatile organic compound mediated bacterial and fungal interactions

  • R.E. Wheatley


Microbial interactions via infochemicals are fundamental to the development of spatial distribution and activity variations in ecosystems. Microorganisms produce a wide range of infochemicals, frequently secondary metabolites, most of which are soluble and many volatile. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been identified in soil atmospheres and related to community structure and function. VOC profiles produced by microorganisms are consistent, relating to cultural conditions, environment and inputs, and so to population and function dynamics. VOC-mediated interactions can result in functional responses by the organisms involved that result in selective advantage to some community members. Positive, negative or neutral interactions can occur between a very wide range of soil bacteria and fungi. These effects include both stimulation and inhibition of growth, by 40 and 60%, respectively, and enzyme production. These effects are usually transient, e.g. removal of an antagonist is followed by complete recovery. Up- and down-regulation of gene expression, by mRNA and protein profiling has been demonstrated. VOCs have played an important role during the evolution of microorganisms in the context of their communities.

bacteria environment fungi microbial interactions volatile organic compounds 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.E. Wheatley
    • 1
  1. 1.Soil-Plant Dynamics UnitScottish Crop Research InstituteDundeeUK

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