Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Phytochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2024 | Viewed by 9480

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
College of Horticulture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
Interests: volatile organic compounds; terpenes; plant biochemistry; botany; horticulture; transcription factors; gene expression; molecular biology; omics data

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Guest Editor
Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, 38010 San Michele all’Adige, Italy
Interests: fruit quality; postharvest; phenotyping; fruit physiology; metabolomics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are sessile organisms that synthesize a variety of secondary metabolites in order to better protect themselves against external impediments. These volatiles are synthesized in every part of the plant, including the roots, seeds, stems, leaves, and fruits, but the flowers give off the highest amount as well as the widest variety of VOCs. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and color compounds are among the most well-known plant specialized metabolites. VOCs are required for interacting with other organisms in mutualistic (e.g., attracting beneficial insects such as pollinators) or hostile interactions both below and above ground (e.g., warning against pathogens and herbivores). Several reports have shown that plants release de novo-synthesized VOCs into the air in response to herbivore damage to protect themselves from the attackers, while these VOCs can simultaneously also act as potential triggers to prime defenses in undamaged neighboring plants and undamaged parts of the same plant. Terpenoids emitted into the atmosphere also play an important role in plant defense against abiotic and biotic stress. Plants release VOCs below ground not only to detect their adjacent community and prepare for or avoid competition with neighboring plants, but also to act as warning signals to nearby plants under certain conditions. Moreover, climate change (e.g., elevated temperature, drought-stress-elevated CO2, and O3) has had a substantial impact on plant quality as well as plant–plant and plant–environment interactions both below and above ground. The effects of climate change factors on the production and emission of VOCs into the atmosphere have recently been demonstrated, which could impact their ecological and biological activities. Overall, changes in the biosynthesis, emission, and functions of VOCs as a result of climate change potentially affect plant–insect interactions, making the resulting ecosystem evolution an interesting and important field of study.

There is still a great need to research VOCs from different sources, to report their distribution and chemical profiles, and to discover new compounds. This Special Issue aims to attract up-to-date contributions on all aspects of VOC chemistry (from challenges in their isolation and analysis to their synthesis) and on unlocking their biological activities or other useful properties.

Dr. Farhat Abbas
Dr. Brian Farneti
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • volatile organic compounds
  • biosynthesis and emission
  • VOCs in plant–plant and plant–environment interaction
  • VOCs in insect/microbe/pathogen/signaling mechanism
  • novel approaches in volatile isolation/analysis/synthesis
  • fruits/food and beverages
  • essential oils
  • biological activities
  • application of omics technologies

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 6065 KiB  
Article
Nicotiana benthamiana Methanol-Inducible Gene (MIG) 21 Encodes a Nucleolus-Localized Protein That Stimulates Viral Intercellular Transport and Downregulates Nuclear Import
by Ekaterina V. Sheshukova, Kamila A. Kamarova, Natalia M. Ershova and Tatiana V. Komarova
Plants 2024, 13(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13020279 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 769
Abstract
The mechanical damage of plant tissues leads to the activation of methanol production and its release into the atmosphere. The gaseous methanol or vapors emitted by the damaged plant induce resistance in neighboring intact plants to bacterial pathogens but create favorable conditions for [...] Read more.
The mechanical damage of plant tissues leads to the activation of methanol production and its release into the atmosphere. The gaseous methanol or vapors emitted by the damaged plant induce resistance in neighboring intact plants to bacterial pathogens but create favorable conditions for viral infection spread. Among the Nicotiana benthamiana methanol-inducible genes (MIGs), most are associated with plant defense and intercellular transport. Here, we characterize NbMIG21, which encodes a 209 aa protein (NbMIG21p) that does not share any homology with annotated proteins. NbMIG21p was demonstrated to contain a nucleolus localization signal (NoLS). Colocalization studies with fibrillarin and coilin, nucleolus and Cajal body marker proteins, revealed that NbMIG21p is distributed among these subnuclear structures. Our results show that recombinant NbMIG21 possesses DNA-binding properties. Similar to a gaseous methanol effect, an increased NbMIG21 expression leads to downregulation of the nuclear import of proteins with nuclear localization signals (NLSs), as was demonstrated with the GFP-NLS model protein. Moreover, upregulated NbMIG21 expression facilitates tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) intercellular transport and reproduction. We identified an NbMIG21 promoter (PrMIG21) and showed that it is methanol sensitive; thus, the induction of NbMIG21 mRNA accumulation occurs at the level of transcription. Our findings suggest that methanol-activated NbMIG21 might participate in creating favorable conditions for viral reproduction and spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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14 pages, 3278 KiB  
Article
Transcription Factor OsbZIP60-like Regulating OsP5CS1 Gene and 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP) Biosynthesis in Aromatic Rice
by Gegen Bao, Umair Ashraf, Lin Li, Jingxuan Qiao, Chunling Wang and Yixiong Zheng
Plants 2024, 13(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010049 - 22 Dec 2023
Viewed by 749
Abstract
The most important volatile in determining the aroma of fragrant rice is 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP); however, the transcriptional regulation mechanism of 2-AP biosynthesis in fragrant rice is still unclear. In this study, Osp5cs1 knockout mutant lines and OsP5CS1 over-expression lines were constructed by the [...] Read more.
The most important volatile in determining the aroma of fragrant rice is 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline (2-AP); however, the transcriptional regulation mechanism of 2-AP biosynthesis in fragrant rice is still unclear. In this study, Osp5cs1 knockout mutant lines and OsP5CS1 over-expression lines were constructed by the genetic transformation of the Indica rice cultivar, i.e., ‘Zhonghua11′, which knocks out OsBADH2 to produce fragrance in aromatic rice. The OsP5CS1 gene was also identified as a key gene in the 2-AP biosynthesis pathway of aromatic rice. The OsP5CS1 promoter was used as bait, and the OsbZIP60-like transcription factor was screened by yeast one-hybrid assays. The OsbZIP60-like transcription factor specifically bound to the OsP5CS1 gene. The dual luciferase reporting system found that the OsbZIP60-like transcription factor promoted the transcriptional activation of OsP5CS1. Compared with the wild type, OsP5CS1 gene expression was significantly down-regulated in the Osbzip60-like mutant and resulted in a substantial reduction in 2-AP biosynthesis. Moreover, the OsP5CS1 gene expression was significantly up-regulated in OsbZIP60-like over-expressed plants, and the 2-AP concentrations were also increased, whereas the Osbzip60-like mutants were found to be sensitive to Zn deficiency. Overall, the OsbZIP60-like transcription factor promoted the 2-AP accumulation. This study provides a theoretical basis for the transcriptional regulation mechanism of 2-AP biosynthesis and explores the function of the OsbZIP transcription factor in fragrant rice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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15 pages, 2506 KiB  
Article
Identification and Characterization of Jasmonic Acid Methyltransferase Involved in the Formation of Floral Methyl Jasmonate in Hedychium coronarium
by Yuechong Yue, Xiaohong Zhang, Lan Wang, Jieling He, Shengnan Yang, Xinyue Li, Yunyi Yu, Rangcai Yu and Yanping Fan
Plants 2024, 13(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13010008 - 19 Dec 2023
Viewed by 597
Abstract
Hedychium coronarium is a popular ornamental flower in tropical and subtropical areas due to its elegant appearance and inviting fragrance. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is one of the volatile compounds in the blooming flowers of H. coronarium. However, the molecular mechanism underlying floral [...] Read more.
Hedychium coronarium is a popular ornamental flower in tropical and subtropical areas due to its elegant appearance and inviting fragrance. Methyl jasmonate (MeJA) is one of the volatile compounds in the blooming flowers of H. coronarium. However, the molecular mechanism underlying floral MeJA formation is still unclear in H. coronarium. In this study, a total of 12 SABATH family genes were identified in the genome of H. coronarium, and their encoded proteins range from 366 to 387 amino acids. Phylogenetic analysis revealed seven clades in the SABATH family and a JMT ortholog clade, including two HcSABATH members. Combined with expression profiling of HcSABATH members, HcJMT1 was identified as the top candidate gene for floral MeJA biosynthesis. In vitro enzyme assays showed that HcJMT1 can catalyze the production of MeJA from jasmonic acid. Gene expression analysis indicated that HcJMT1 exhibited the highest expression in the labella and lateral petals, the major sites of MeJA emission. During flower development, the two MeJA isomers, major isomers in the products of the HcJMT1 protein, were released after anthesis, in which stage HcJMT1 displayed high expression. Our results indicated that HcJMT1 is involved in the formation of floral MeJA in H. coronarium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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20 pages, 4053 KiB  
Article
The Development of Floral Scent Research: A Comprehensive Bibliometric Analysis (1987–2022)
by Qin Peng, Yangyang Zhang, Junjun Fan, Anil Shrestha, Wangxiang Zhang and Guangyu Wang
Plants 2023, 12(23), 3947; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12233947 - 23 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1226
Abstract
Floral scent (FS) plays a pivotal role in maintaining ecological equilibrium within plant populations and ecosystems while also bearing significance for human well-being. Despite the growing interest in FS research, there exists a dearth of comprehensive analyses on research trends, contemporary topics, and [...] Read more.
Floral scent (FS) plays a pivotal role in maintaining ecological equilibrium within plant populations and ecosystems while also bearing significance for human well-being. Despite the growing interest in FS research, there exists a dearth of comprehensive analyses on research trends, contemporary topics, and their broader implications. In this study, we employ bibliometric techniques using data from the Web of Science Core Collection spanning 1987–2022 to offer a quantitative overview of the scientific literature surrounding FS by examining the annual publication outputs, popular research areas, temporal trends in keywords, geographic distribution of relevant studies, institutions, co-organizations, as well as relevant authors. Our findings reveal a marked upsurge in FS publications, notably within the domains of Food Science Technology, Plant Sciences, Chemistry, Agriculture, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. The research landscape in FS primarily encompasses evolutionary dynamics, volatile compound analyses, biosynthesis mechanisms, and essential oil properties. These research trends signify a transition from micro-level exploration, focusing on individual pollination ecological functions of FS, to a macro-perspective that emphasizes FS’s overarching impact on species diversity and ecosystem stability. This shift extends from the investigation of singular sensory attributes of FS to a holistic evaluation of their role in food production, quality, and yield enhancement. It encompasses a move away from mere FS extraction towards the examination of antioxidant potential within phenolic compounds and other industrial applications. Thus, improving research methodologies, strengthening interdisciplinary collaboration on an international scale, and delving deeper into the multifaceted ecological functions of floral diversity and their societal implications will be paramount. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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18 pages, 4547 KiB  
Article
Light Regulation of LoCOP1 and Its Role in Floral Scent Biosynthesis in Lilium ‘Siberia’
by Yang Liu, Qin Wang, Farhat Abbas, Yiwei Zhou, Jingjuan He, Yanping Fan and Rangcai Yu
Plants 2023, 12(10), 2004; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12102004 - 16 May 2023
Viewed by 1174
Abstract
Light is an important environmental signal that governs plant growth, development, and metabolism. Constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) is a light signaling component that plays a vital role in plant light responses. We isolated the COP1 gene (LoCOP1) from the petals of [...] Read more.
Light is an important environmental signal that governs plant growth, development, and metabolism. Constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1) is a light signaling component that plays a vital role in plant light responses. We isolated the COP1 gene (LoCOP1) from the petals of Lilium ‘Siberia’ and investigated its function. The LoCOP1 protein was found to be the most similar to Apostasia shenzhenica COP1. LoCOP1 was found to be an important factor located in the nucleus and played a negative regulatory role in floral scent production and emission using the virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) approach. The yeast two-hybrid, β-galactosidase, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) assays revealed that LoCOP1 interacts with LoMYB1 and LoMYB3. Furthermore, light modified both the subcellular distribution of LoCOP1 and its interactions with LoMYB1 and MYB3 in onion cells. The findings highlighted an important regulatory mechanism in the light signaling system that governs scent emission in Lilium ‘Siberia’ by the ubiquitination and degradation of transcription factors via the proteasome pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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Review

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23 pages, 2034 KiB  
Review
The Effects of Heavy Metal Pollution on Soil Nitrogen Transformation and Rice Volatile Organic Compounds under Different Water Management Practices
by Muhammad Afzal, Sajid Muhammad, Dedong Tan, Sidra Kaleem, Arif Ali Khattak, Xiaolin Wang, Xiaoyuan Chen, Liangfang Ma, Jingzhi Mo, Niaz Muhammad, Mehmood Jan and Zhiyuan Tan
Plants 2024, 13(6), 871; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13060871 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 651
Abstract
One of the most concerning global environmental issues is the pollution of agricultural soils by heavy metals (HMs), especially cadmium, which not only affects human health through Cd-containing foods but also impacts the quality of rice. The soil’s nitrification and denitrification processes, coupled [...] Read more.
One of the most concerning global environmental issues is the pollution of agricultural soils by heavy metals (HMs), especially cadmium, which not only affects human health through Cd-containing foods but also impacts the quality of rice. The soil’s nitrification and denitrification processes, coupled with the release of volatile organic compounds by plants, raise substantial concerns. In this review, we summarize the recent literature related to the deleterious effects of Cd on both soil processes related to the N cycle and rice quality, particularly aroma, in different water management practices. Under both continuous flooding (CF) and alternate wetting and drying (AWD) conditions, cadmium has been observed to reduce both the nitrification and denitrification processes. The adverse effects are more pronounced in alternate wetting and drying (AWD) as compared to continuous flooding (CF). Similarly, the alteration in rice aroma is more significant in AWD than in CF. The precise modulation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by Cd remains unclear based on the available literature. Nevertheless, HM accumulation is higher in AWD conditions compared to CF, leading to a detrimental impact on volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The literature concludes that AWD practices should be avoided in Cd-contaminated fields to decrease accumulation and maintain the quality of the rice. In the future, rhizospheric engineering and plant biotechnology can be used to decrease the transport of HMs from the soil to the plant’s edible parts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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25 pages, 1822 KiB  
Review
Aroma Components in Horticultural Crops: Chemical Diversity and Usage of Metabolic Engineering for Industrial Applications
by Farhat Abbas, Yiwei Zhou, Dylan O’Neill Rothenberg, Intikhab Alam, Yanguo Ke and Hui-Cong Wang
Plants 2023, 12(9), 1748; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12091748 - 24 Apr 2023
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3603
Abstract
Plants produce an incredible variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that assist the interactions with their environment, such as attracting pollinating insects and seed dispersers and defense against herbivores, pathogens, and parasites. Furthermore, VOCs have a significant economic impact on crop quality, as [...] Read more.
Plants produce an incredible variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that assist the interactions with their environment, such as attracting pollinating insects and seed dispersers and defense against herbivores, pathogens, and parasites. Furthermore, VOCs have a significant economic impact on crop quality, as well as the beverage, food, perfume, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries. These VOCs are mainly classified as terpenoids, benzenoids/phenylpropanes, and fatty acid derivates. Fruits and vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, while aroma compounds play a major role in flavor and quality management of these horticultural commodities. Subtle shifts in aroma compounds can dramatically alter the flavor and texture of fruits and vegetables, altering their consumer appeal. Rapid innovations in -omics techniques have led to the isolation of genes encoding enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of several volatiles, which has aided to our comprehension of the regulatory molecular pathways involved in VOC production. The present review focuses on the significance of aroma volatiles to the flavor and aroma profile of horticultural crops and addresses the industrial applications of plant-derived volatile terpenoids, particularly in food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and biofuel industries. Additionally, the methodological constraints and complexities that limit the transition from gene selection to host organisms and from laboratories to practical implementation are discussed, along with metabolic engineering’s potential for enhancing terpenoids volatile production at the industrial level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Volatile Organic Compounds: Revealing the Hidden Interactions)
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