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Phytochemistry. 2002 Sep;61(1):61-71.

Fig volatile compounds--a first comparative study.

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Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS, 1919 Route de Mende, F-34 293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


We analysed the compounds of volatile blends released by receptive figs of twenty Ficus species to attract their specific pollinating wasps. In all, 99 different compounds were identified. The compounds are mainly terpenoids, aliphatic compounds and products from the shikimic acid pathway. In each species blend, there are few major compounds, which are generally common among floral fragrances. Most species blends also include rare compounds, but generally their proportion in the blend is low. A possible basis for species-specificity of Ficus-wasp interactions is discussed in relation to the patterns of volatiles found in this interspecies comparison.

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