Issue Date: March 7, 2011
Chemical Weapon For Plants Unsheathed
Scientists studying the wars waged between plants and infectious microbes have discovered a new plant-defense chemical. While monitoring Arabidopsis plants under attack by Pseudomonas syringae pathogenic bacteria, a team led by Jun Fan of the John Innes Centre, in Norwich, England, and Peter Doerner of the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, discovered that the plants produce sulforaphane (4-methylsulfinylbutyl isothiocyanate) by breaking down aliphatic glucosinolates . . .
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