Explorations of Plant’s Chemodiversity: Role of Nitrogen-Containing Secondary Metabolites in Plant Defense

  • Sanjay Kumar Singh


In nature, plants are surrounded by a number of biotic and abiotic environmental stresses. Biotic ecosystems contain a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, nematodes, mites, insects, mammals, and other herbivorous animals, greatly responsible for heavy reduction in crop productivity. Henceforth, to cope up from these biotic stresses, the plant defense mechanism increasingly requires the availability of large numbers of phytochemicals. Chemodiversity in plants offers a valuable source; for example, nitrogen-containing secondary metabolites, previously regarded as waste products, are now recognized for their resistant activity against herbivores, pests, pathogens, and diseases. In this chapter, I have described the increasing role of nitrogen-containing secondary metabolites during plant defense. These metabolites impose their effects by acting as deterrence/antifeedant, toxicity, or precursors to physical defense systems. Many specialized herbivores and pathogens do not merely circumvent the deterrent or toxic effects of secondary metabolites but actually utilize these compounds as host recognition signals and/or nutrients. This is true for both cyanogenic glucosides and glucosinolates which are discussed in detail. Their biochemical and molecular mechanism of action is compared and contrasted.


Secondary metabolites Plant defense Pathogen Herbivores 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA

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