Volatile Interaction Between Undamaged Plants: A Short Cut to Coexistence

  • Velemir Ninkovic
Part of the Signaling and Communication in Plants book series (SIGCOMM)


Coexistence with other plants is one of the most important factors affecting the growth of plant individuals and the distribution of species. Most research in this area has focused on competition between plants, but recently an understanding has emerged that coexistence can take other forms. Plant released volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be phytotoxic for receiving plants and are commonly employed in plant competition. VOCs can also be used as a source of information by the plant. The information available to the plant through the interpretation of plant volatile signals can help it adapt to surrounding conditions, such as competition, via morphological and physiological changes. These changes can result in alterations of leaf temperature and biomass allocation patterns. The plant can then react to compete when necessary or avoid unfavourable competition. Studies indicate that plants can distinguish between related and non-related plants by means of VOCs. Therefore, VOCs may also play an important role in the kin selection. Volatile signal interpretation and its effects on the plant and subsequent trophic levels have been given the name allelobiosis.


Biomass Allocation Leaf Temperature Barley Cultivar Methyl Salicylate Allene Oxide 
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.



This work was financially supported by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (Mistra) through the PlantComMistra programme and by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS). Torgny Näsholm, Robert Glinwood, Jan Pettersson, Iris Dahlin, Martin Kellner and Dimitrije Markovic are thanked for reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EcologySwedish University of Agricultural ScienceUppsalaSweden

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