Poplar volatiles - biosynthesis, regulation and (eco)physiology of isoprene and stress-induced isoprenoids

Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2010 Mar;12(2):302-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1438-8677.2009.00284.x.


Plants interact with their environment through a wide variety of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), with isoprenoids ( identical with terpenes), i.e. isoprene, mono- and sesquiterpenes, playing an important role. Isoprene, a hemiterpene, is the simplest isoprenoid compound mainly emitted by tree species like poplars, oaks and willows. Woody plants alone comprise 75% of the global isoprene emitted to the atmosphere. Due to its significant influence on atmospheric chemistry, research has been focused on this C5 compound, with poplar being the most prominent model system. Recent studies indicate that isoprene can enhance thermotolerance or quench oxidative stress, while also interfering with the attraction of herbivores and parasitoids to plants. In this paper, we report on biosynthesis, regulation and function of isoprene and other stress-induced volatile isoprenoids in poplar, and discuss the future scientific challenges in this genus with respect to the importance of plant volatiles in high-density poplar biomass plantations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / genetics
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism
  • Atmosphere / chemistry
  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes / biosynthesis*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pentanes
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Populus / metabolism*
  • Populus / physiology
  • Terpenes / metabolism*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / metabolism*


  • Butadienes
  • Hemiterpenes
  • Pentanes
  • Plant Proteins
  • Terpenes
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • isoprene
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • isoprene synthase