IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


29th November, 2023 Science and Technology


Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


  • GLVs are compounds emitted by injured plants that act as signals to neighboring plants, warning them of potential danger.
  • Professor Masatsugu Toyota and his team at Saitama University devised a method to observe plants' responses to these warning signals.


  • Experimental Process: The study used a genetically modified mustard plant that glowed when calcium ions flooded its cells, triggered by stimuli like touch, cutting with scissors, or insect feeding.
  • Observations: When exposed to GLVs, the mutant mustard plant exhibited calcium responses. This indicates the plant's ability to detect these compounds released by neighboring plants.
  • Specific GLVs and Plant Response: The experiment identified specific GLVs (E-2-HAL and Z-3-HAL) that triggered heightened calcium responses in certain leaf cells, indicating the targeted nature of the plant's defense mechanism.
  • Gene Expression and Defense Mechanisms: The study observed increased expression of defense-related genes (Jaz-7 and OPR-3) in response to GLVs, suggesting that the plants perceived these compounds as a danger signal and began protective measures.


  • Agricultural Impact: Harnessing plant communication through GLVs might offer sustainable pest control methods in agriculture, reducing the dependency on chemical pesticides.
  • Understanding Plant Perception: This study opens avenues to delve deeper into how plants perceive and respond to environmental signals, expanding our understanding of plant biology.
  • Challenges Ahead: Despite the breakthrough, challenges lie in translating these findings into practical, large-scale applications while considering the complexities of plant signaling in real-world environments.


  • Green leaf volatiles (GLVs) are a diverse group of organic compounds emitted by plants, particularly in response to stress, herbivory, or mechanical damage.
  • These compounds play essential roles in plant defense, communication, and interactions with the environment.
  • GLVs are named for their green, leafy aroma and are primarily composed of six-carbon aldehydes, alcohols, and esters.

Composition and Types of Green Leaf Volatiles

  • Aldehydes: These include compounds such as hexenal and hexanal, which contribute to the characteristic fresh, grassy scent.
  • Alcohols: Compounds like hexenol and hexanol are often associated with floral aromas and contribute to the overall volatile profile.
  • Esters: These compounds, such as hexyl acetate, can have fruity or sweet aromas and are crucial for plant signaling and defense mechanisms.

Functions and Roles

  • Plant Defense: GLVs are part of a plant's defense mechanism against herbivores and pathogens. When a plant is damaged, enzymes break down fatty acids in cell membranes, releasing GLVs that signal nearby plants to prepare for potential threats.
  • Insect Communication: GLVs can attract or repel insects. For instance, they might lure predators of herbivores or serve as warning signals to neighboring plants.
  • Abiotic Stress Responses: Plants release GLVs in response to environmental stresses like drought, high temperatures, or pollution. These compounds aid in adaptation and survival by signaling stress and triggering protective responses.
  • Interactions with Microorganisms: GLVs can modulate interactions between plants and beneficial or harmful microorganisms in the rhizosphere, impacting plant health and growth.

Environmental Significance

  • Air Quality and Climate: GLVs are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that participate in atmospheric chemistry, contributing to the formation of secondary organic aerosols and influencing air quality and climate.
  • Ecosystem Dynamics: These compounds play a role in shaping interactions within ecosystems by influencing plant-plant, plant-insect, and plant-microbe relationships.

Research and Applications

  • Agriculture: Understanding GLVs helps in developing strategies for pest control, crop protection, and enhancing plant resistance to stress, thereby improving agricultural productivity.
  • Aroma and Flavor Industry: Some GLVs are used in the food and fragrance industries due to their pleasant odors and flavors, finding application in perfumes, food additives, and essential oils.


Green leaf volatiles are multifaceted compounds crucial for plant survival, inter-plant communication, defense mechanisms, and environmental interactions. Their roles in signaling, defense, and ecosystem dynamics make them a subject of significant interest in fields ranging from plant biology and agriculture to atmospheric chemistry and ecological studies. Understanding their functions and applications could potentially offer innovative solutions in various industries while shedding light on fundamental aspects of plant biology and ecology.


Q. Green leaf volatiles (GLVs) have emerged as crucial signaling molecules in plant defense mechanisms and inter-plant communication. Discuss the significance of GLVs in plant biology, their roles in environmental interactions, and their potential applications in agriculture. (250 Words)