Volatile organic compounds from orchids: From synthesis and function to gene regulation

Orchids are one of the most significant plants that have ecologically adapted to every habitat on earth. Orchids show a high level of variation in their floral morphologies, which makes them popular as ornamental plants in the global market. Floral scent and color are key traits for many floricultural crops. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) play vital roles in pollinator attraction, defense, and interaction with the environment.

Recent progress in omics technology has led to the isolation of genes encoding candidate enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis and regulatory circuits of plant VOCs. Uncovering the biosynthetic pathways and regulatory mechanisms underlying the production of floral scents is necessary not only for a better understanding of the function of relevant genes but also for the generation of new cultivars with desirable traits through molecular breeding approaches. However, little is known about the pathways responsible for floral scents in orchids because of their long life cycle as well as the complex and large genome; only partial terpenoid pathways have been reported in orchids.

In a new study, researcher review the biosynthesis and regulation of floral volatile compounds in orchids. In particular, they focused on the genes responsible for volatile compounds in various tissues and developmental stages in Cymbidium orchids. They also described the emission of orchid floral volatiles and their function in pollination ecology. Taken together, this review will provide a broad scope for the study of orchid floral scents.

Access the full study at ResearchGate

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