Plants Fight Back - Physical and Chemical Defences in Plants

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One of a series of articles for post-16 students published by Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS). Plants attacked by herbivores or pathogens respond by synthesising additional physical and chemical defences and so increasing their resistance to subsequent assaults. The induced defences are initiated close to the damaged site but within a few days spread to encompass the whole plant and so boost resistance even in healthy tissue.

This booklet discusses the mechanisms responsible for induced resistance and its potential use for crop protection. The booklet also includes two boxes. ‘The discovery of R genes’ leads students through the genetic experiments that defined the role of R genes in allowing plants to recognize pathogens. ‘Plants that call for help’ briefly discusses how the synthesis and release of volatile compounds by plants attracts predators of pests.

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