Constitutive Secondary Plant Metabolites and Soil Fungi: Defense Against or Facilitation of Diversity

  • Franz Hadacek
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 14)

In general, we assign the term secondary metabolites to low molecular weight compounds produced by living organisms that apparently lack life-sustaining functions. Instead, they are assumed to contribute to the producing organism’s survival in the ecosystem. By contrast, primary metabolites are practically indispensable (Hartmann 1996). The congruence of apparent accumulation of secondary metabolites in those organisms lacking an immune system, such as plants, fungi, or invertebrates, additionally supports the notion that the main function of these originally classified as waste products metabolites is defense against pathogens and predators. Besides, there exist also morphological defenses, such as cutin armor, thorns, or spines (Rubinstein 1992; Gershenzon 2002).


Secondary Metabolite Chemical Defense Antifungal Compound Root Litter Curr Opin Plant Biol 
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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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz Hadacek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Ecology and Ecosystem Research, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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