Floral Scents and Fruit Aromas Inspired by Nature

  • Florence Negre-Zakharov
  • Michael C. Long
  • Natalia Dudareva


Plants use floral and fruit volatiles as chemical cues to interact with their environment by attracting pollinators and seed dispersers, thus ensuring plant reproductive success. These volatiles also have a significant economic value as they contribute directly to the quality, and indirectly to the yield, of crops. The scent of flowers and the aroma of fruits are composed of complex mixtures of tens or sometimes hundreds of volatile compounds, many of which are found in both flowers and fruits. Arising from diverse biochemical pathways, floral and fruit volatiles can be divided into four major classes according to their metabolic origin: terpenoids, phenylpropanoids/benzenoids, fatty acid derivatives and amino acid derivatives. Recent discoveries of genes and enzymes responsible for the formation of volatile compounds have facilitated the investigation of the regulation of the biosynthesis of flower and fruit volatiles. Our growing understanding of the plant volatile network, together with pioneering attempts for fragrance modification, provide a platform for future metabolic engineering of floral scent and fruit aroma for plant improvement and human enjoyment.


Volatile Compound Tomato Fruit Volatile Emission Coniferyl Alcohol Terpene Synthases 



aromatic amino acid decarboxylase


alcohol acyltransferase


adenosine triphosphate binding cassette


alcohol dehydrogenase


anthocyanin O-hydroxycinnamoyltransferase


allene oxide synthase


benzoic acid


benzoic acid carboxyl methyl transferase


acetyl-CoA:benzyl alcohol acetyltransferase


benzyl alcohol/phenylethanol benzoyl transferase


benzoic acid/salicylic acid carboxyl methyltransferase


cinnamic acid


carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase


coniferyl alcohol acyltransferase




3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate


deacetylvindoline 4-O-acetyltransferase


dimethylallyl diphosphate


eugenol synthase


erythrose 4-phosphate


fructose 6-phosphate


farnesyl diphosphate


farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase




glucose 6-phosphate


gas chromatography coupled with electroantennogram detection


geraniol synthase


geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate


GGPP synthase


geranyl diphosphate


GPP synthase


anthranilate N-hydroxycinnamoyl/ benzoyltransferase


hydroperoxyde lyase


isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase


isoeugenol synthase


indole-3-glycerol phosphate lyase


indole 3-glycerol phosphate


isopentenyl diphosphate


jasmonic acid carboxyl methyl transferase


(S)-linalool synthase




lipid transfer proteins




mevalonic acid


phenylacetaldehyde synthase


L-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase


production of anthocyanin pigment 1






rose alcohol acyltransferase


strawberry alcohol acyltransferase


terpene synthase



Work in ND’s lab is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation (grant numbers MCB-0615700 and MCB-0331333), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (grant numbers 2003–35318–13619 and 2005–35318–16207) and the Fred Gloeckner Foundation, Inc. Work in FNZ’s lab is supported by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis and the California Melon Research Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florence Negre-Zakharov
    • 1
  • Michael C. Long
    • 2
  • Natalia Dudareva
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Horticulture and Landscape ArchitecturePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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