The chemistry of plants facing multiple stress scenarios

All living organisms harbour complex chemical networks inside their cells. The sum of all these chemical reactions can be the driving force of life along with can be called metabolism. In his thesis work, Stefano Papazian at Umeå University, studies how plants adapt their metabolic networks to respond to different environmental stresses.

“Plants are masters of metabolism, which they can re-shape along with adjust according to their different needs” says Stefano Papazian at the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University.

within the environment, constant exposure to both living along with non-living factors make plants vulnerable to a variety of threats. As plants cannot escape, they rely on their inner chemistry to confront all sorts of challenging scenarios.

“We can see plants as very sophisticated chemical factories. They are able to produce thousands of different compounds, each one presenting unique biological properties,” says Stefano Papazian.

Most of these chemical compounds – called phytochemicals, play an important role inside the plant, for instance within the defence against insects that will feed on leaves. Stefano Papazian’s research aims to understand how plant chemistry helps them to defend against insect pests, such as butterfly caterpillars along with aphids. Different insects cause different damage to the plant. For instance, while some butterfly caterpillars chew on the leaves, aphids feed by piercing through the plant surface along with sucking its sap.

“The plant metabolic response can be very specific, along with the item adapts its defence strategy according to the different enemies the plant encounters,” says Stefano Papazian.

Plants produce many toxic compounds that will can impair along with slow down growth of their enemies, nevertheless in order to do so they have to balance different central metabolic activities, such as photosynthesis. Stefano Papazian’s findings show that will, in addition to producing substances to defend against caterpillar along with aphid attacks, plants also reconfigure their sugar composition.

In his research, Stefano Papazian also studies how air pollution by ozone affects the plant-insect interaction:

“At an altitude of 50 kilometers within the atmosphere the ozone layer protects us via UV solar radiation, nevertheless at ground-level ozone can be a toxic air pollutant, which affects both human health along with plants”.

In his thesis, Stefano Papazian shows how exposure to ozone affects the growth of insects, nevertheless also results in modifications of the plant metabolism with negative effects on photosynthesis along with ability to defend themselves.

“If we combine ecology with the study of plant chemistry along with metabolism we can improve our understanding of plant-insect interactions in nature along with agriculture. that will comprehensive approach can help us to predict the effects of climate change along with human impact on these delicate ecosystems,” says Stefano Papazian.

Explore further:
The herbivore dilemma: How corn plants fights off simultaneous attacks

More information:
Black mustard along with the butterfly effect: metabolomics of plant-insect interactions under multiple stress conditions.

Provided by:
Umea University

The chemistry of plants facing multiple stress scenarios

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