Volatile organic compounds emitted by plants represent the largest part of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) released into our atmosphere. Plant volatiles are formed through many biochemical pathways, constitutively and after stress induction. In recent years, our understanding of the functions of these molecules has made constant and rapid progress. From being considered in the past as a mere waste of carbon, BVOCs have now emerged as an essential element of an invisible language that is perceived and exploited by the plants' enemies, the enemies of plant enemies, and neighbouring plants. In addition, BVOCs have important functions in protecting plants from abiotic stresses. Recent advances in our understanding of the role of BVOC in direct and indirect defences are driving further attention to these emissions. This special issue gathers some of the latest and most original research that further expands our knowledge of BVOC. BVOC emissions and functions in (1) unexplored terrestrial (including the soil) and marine environments, (2) in changing climate conditions, and (3) under anthropic pressures, or (4) in complex trophic communities are comprehensively reviewed. Stepping up from scientific awareness, the presented information shows that the manipulation and exploitation of BVOC is a realistic and promising strategy for agricultural applications and biotechnological exploitations.
- herbivorous insects
- floral scent