Plants, though sessile, employ various strategies to defend themselves against herbivorous insects. The production of terpenoids, and formation of symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) are two such defensive strategies.
Terpenoids deter herbivores, attract their predators and serve as airborne signals that induce defence responses in neighbouring uninfested plants. Sharma et al. show that AM affect the concentration and composition of terpenoids, boosting defence against herbivores. Hyphal networks in soil serve as conduits facilitating the transfer of defence signals and terpenoids between plants. Improved understanding of terpenoids and AM in plant defence will have significant implications for sustainable pest management in agricultural ecosystems.
Jatropha curcas could be an oil crop with major biofuel potential, but the breeding germplasm has little variation. Botanists have found that there is genetic potential in previously overlooked non-toxic jatropha, but it needs conservation.
What is it that makes a plant get up and stay up? A new review looks at the creation of secondary cell walls. These microscopic features are the key to understanding the architecture of the plants we see around us.
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