Journal article

Plant chemical defense: at what cost?

Elizabeth H Neilson, Jason QD Goodger, Ian E Woodrow, Birger Lindberg Moller



Plants are sessile organisms and dependent on deployment of secondary metabolites for their response to biotic and abiotic challenges. A trade-off is envisioned between resources allocated to growth, development, and reproduction and to the biosynthesis, storage, and maintenance of secondary metabolites. However, increasing evidence suggests that secondary metabolites serve auxiliary roles, including functions associated with primary metabolism. In this opinion article, we examine how the costs of plant chemical defense can be offset by multifunctional biosynthesis and the optimization of primary metabolism. These additional benefits may negate the trade-off between primary and secondary met..

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Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

B.L.M. gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Villum Foundation to the research center 'Pro-Active Plants', from the Center of Synthetic Biology funded by the UNIK [Universitetsforskningens Investeringskapital (Investment Capital for University Research)] research initiative of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, from the Novo Nordisk Foundation 'Center for Biosustainability', and from the Danish Council on Technology and Production Sciences. E.H.N. acknowledges a personal postdoctoral stipend granted by the Villum Foundation and support from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment [managed by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) Trustees]. J.Q.D.G., B.L.M. and I.E.W. were supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council (Project DP1094530).