Research Overview

photo taken by Al Goldis

Flowers of many plants attract pollinators by producing volatile compounds.  The scent emitted by such flowers is often a complex mixture of organic compounds. Insects are able to distinguish between complex floral scent mixtures. Discriminatory visitation based on floral scent has important implications for population structure and reproductive success of plant species, and in agriculturally important species, to seed and fruit set. Plants also produce volatile compounds to protect themselves against animal herbivores. Many of the chemicals produced in floral and vegetative tissues are utilized by humans as food flavorants and in the production of perfumes and medicinals. My lab investigates the biochemical pathways involved in the production of plant volatiles, the enzymes that catalyze them, and the genes that encode these enzymes. Genetic engineering of plants with such genes could result in the introduction of new scents and flavors into various plant species.

Eran Pichersky, Professor Emeritus

Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1085

Tel: 734-936-3522
Fax: 734-647-0884

Access to our EST Databases

User Name: clarkia
Password: breweri

Links to our collaborative projects
Solanum Trichome Project