Friday, March 18, 2005

Basic Self-Defense for Plants

No one has really understood how plants orchestrate quick, protective responses to pest attacks, wounds, and other stresses. Now a simple, accurate method has been devised that uses readily available chemicals, standards, and instruments to shed light on these processes. The new protocol simultaneously analyzes interactions between multiple plant hormones, fatty acids, pathogen-derived elicitors, and other volatile organic compounds.
The method gives physiologists a rapid way to examine how plants use complex phytohormone interactions—called "signaling crosstalk"—to coordinate growth, development, and dynamic responses to stress. It uses vapor phase extraction techniques to collect the phytohormones and other metabolites from just a few milligrams of plant tissue, gas chromatography to separate components within the sample, and mass spectrometry to analyze and measure target compounds.
Source: Agricultural Research, v. 53, no. 3 (March 2005)

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