The picture on top of this post is from one of the first articles of plant-animal interactions that mentions and studies volatile organic compounds VOCs (Schütz et al. 1996).
These small chemical compounds are an integral part of plant communication with other plants (e.g. Kost & Heil 2006), herbivores (e.g. Brilli et al. 2009) and natural enemies of herbivores (e.g. De Moraes et al. 1998). Plants emit these VOCs and they can be studied, for example, by collecting emitted VOCs and then analyzing them with gas chromatography – mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
But the definion VOC is not restricted to only plants. In fact, the Wikipedia definition is: “Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure results from a low boiling point, which causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate or sublimate from the liquid or solid form of the compound and enter the surrounding air, a trait known as volatility.”
I searched from Web of Science (24 November 2016) how many publications there are to be found with search term “VOC* AND volatil*”. The amount is 13554 publications. Majority of these deal with anthropogenic sources such as fuels, harmful chemicals, water sources etc. There are only a few publications per year during the first ten years but then the topic became more and more common (see figure below).
If I limit the results to publications of plant sciences, ecology or entomology I get 630 publications. There are still publications of anthropogenic VOC sources among that list. And I’m sure I missed many plant-animal interaction papers with that restriction. Which means that it is difficult to find how much there is VOC research of plant-animal interactions (see figure below).
Good thing is that nowadays many researchers of plant-animal interactions dealing with VOCs use also some other abbreviation. But there are several different abbreviations used and I list those here. Let me know if I’ve missed any. 😉
BVOC = biogenic volatile organic compound
- – 482 publications in Web of Science; “BVOC* AND volatil*”
- – in other words non-anthropogenic VOCs
- – first used by Geron et al. 1994; Geron et al. 1995
HIPV = herbivore-induced plant volatile
- – 191 publications in Web of Science; “HIPV* AND volatil*”
- – first used by Bruin & Sabelis 2001; Kaori et al 2002
HI-VOC = herbivore-induced volatile organic compound
- – 3 publications in Web of Science; “HI-VOC* AND volatil*”
- – used by Ruther & Kleier 2005; Heil 2014; Duran-Flores & Heil 2016
OIPV = oviposition-induced plant volatile
- – 4 publications in Web of Science; “OIPV* AND volatil*”
- – used by Moujahed et al. 2014; Cusumano et al. 2015; Ponzio et al. 2016; Blassioli-Moraes et al. 2016
OVIV = oviposition-induced plant volatile
- – 1 publication in Web of Science; “OVIV* AND volatil*”
- – used by Schröder et al. 2008
I would recommend biologists studying especially plant-emitted VOCs to use one of these more detailed abbreviations. I used in my first article VOC since then I was new to this topic and didn’t know about alternatives (Mäntylä et al. 2008). After that I started to use HIPV (Mäntylä et al. 2014, 2016) and OIPV (Mäntylä et al. manuscript).
PS. Other VOC-related useful abbreviations: GLV = green leaf volatile, MeJa or MeJA = methyl jasmonate, JA = jasmonic acid
© Elina Mäntylä (firstname.lastname@example.org), 24 November 2016