Calling in the Dark: The Role of Volatiles for Communication in the Rhizosphere

  • Nicole M. van DamEmail author
  • Alexander Weinhold
  • Paolina Garbeva
Part of the Signaling and Communication in Plants book series (SIGCOMM)


Volatile organic compounds play an important role in the communication between plants and other organisms. The rhizosphere contains a large and diverse microbial community whose members use similar volatiles for intra- and interspecific communication. However, the analysis of volatiles produced in the rhizosphere and their ecological functions have been little explored so far. In this chapter, we outline what is known about the classes of volatiles that are emitted into the rhizosphere by roots and soil microbes, and the effect they have on different interactors in the soil. Additionally, we review current approaches to sample volatiles in mesocosms and field soils. We conclude that to better understand the production and functions of volatiles in the rhizosphere, it is of critical importance to design set-ups that account for the natural complexity of soils. This will help to apply this knowledge for sustainable agriculture and the identification of novel agrochemicals.


Endophytic Fungus Plant Volatile Volatile Profile Volatile Emission Root Herbivore 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole M. van Dam
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Alexander Weinhold
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paolina Garbeva
    • 4
  1. 1.German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute of EcologyFriedrich Schiller University JenaJenaGermany
  3. 3.Department of Molecular Interaction Ecology, Institute of Water and Wetland Research (IWWR)Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Microbial EcologyNetherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)WageningenThe Netherlands

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