Plant Biology
Plant Biology
To match human population growth, world agricultural production must double over the next quarter century. At Salk, we study plants so that humans will have the food, clothing, energy and medicines they need now and in the future.

A switch to turn fragrances on and off

Professor Joseph Noel, co-first author Suzanne Thomas and collaborators at Purdue University discovered the switch in plants that turns off the production of terpenoids—carbon-rich compounds that play roles in plant physiology and are used by humans in everything from fragrances and flavorings to biofuels and pharmaceuticals. Plants often make terpenoids in such low quantities that extracting them for commercial use is difficult. The discovery could lead to more-efficient ways to obtain sufficient amounts of these products to the benefit of humans.

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