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New Phytol. 2009;183(1):27-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02859.x. Epub 2009 May 5.

Biogenic volatile organic compounds in the Earth system.

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Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK.

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  • New Phytol. 2009;184(1):276.


Biogenic volatile organic compounds produced by plants are involved in plant growth, development, reproduction and defence. They also function as communication media within plant communities, between plants and between plants and insects. Because of the high chemical reactivity of many of these compounds, coupled with their large mass emission rates from vegetation into the atmosphere, they have significant effects on the chemical composition and physical characteristics of the atmosphere. Hence, biogenic volatile organic compounds mediate the relationship between the biosphere and the atmosphere. Alteration of this relationship by anthropogenically driven changes to the environment, including global climate change, may perturb these interactions and may lead to adverse and hard-to-predict consequences for the Earth system.

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