Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Role of Cereal Secondary Metabolites Involved in Mediating the Outcome of Plant-Pathogen Interactions
Previous Article in Journal
Accurate Quantification of Lipid Species by Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry — Meets a Key Challenge in Lipidomics
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Metabolites 2011, 1(1), 41-63; doi:10.3390/metabo1010041

Volatile Metabolites

The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited, Private Bag 11600, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Received: 21 October 2011 / Revised: 16 November 2011 / Accepted: 17 November 2011 / Published: 25 November 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Secondary Metabolites and Metabolism)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [247 KB, uploaded 25 November 2011]   |  


Volatile organic compounds (volatiles) comprise a chemically diverse class of low molecular weight organic compounds having an appreciable vapor pressure under ambient conditions. Volatiles produced by plants attract pollinators and seed dispersers, and provide defense against pests and pathogens. For insects, volatiles may act as pheromones directing social behavior or as cues for finding hosts or prey. For humans, volatiles are important as flavorants and as possible disease biomarkers. The marine environment is also a major source of halogenated and sulfur-containing volatiles which participate in the global cycling of these elements. While volatile analysis commonly measures a rather restricted set of analytes, the diverse and extreme physical properties of volatiles provide unique analytical challenges. Volatiles constitute only a small proportion of the total number of metabolites produced by living organisms, however, because of their roles as signaling molecules (semiochemicals) both within and between organisms, accurately measuring and determining the roles of these compounds is crucial to an integrated understanding of living systems. This review summarizes recent developments in volatile research from a metabolomics perspective with a focus on the role of recent technical innovation in developing new areas of volatile research and expanding the range of ecological interactions which may be mediated by volatile organic metabolites.
Keywords: metabolomics; volatiles; volatile profiling; aroma; flavor; semiochemicals; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry metabolomics; volatiles; volatile profiling; aroma; flavor; semiochemicals; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Rowan, D.D. Volatile Metabolites. Metabolites 2011, 1, 41-63.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Metabolites EISSN 2218-1989 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top