Tweaking plants for fragrant flowers


Plant biologists discuss method at global conference

The flowers in your garden could soon be attracting visitors in hordes, not only for their various hues but their heavenly scent as well.

Scientists and plant biologists have tasted the first sweet whiff of success in engineering plants to produce highly scented flowers. This was one of the highlights at the ongoing international conference on ‘Micro and Metabolic Regulators in Plants’ hosted by the Rajiv Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) here.

Alexander Vainstein, from the faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel, said, “Petunia flowers have been traditionally used for their beauty and attractive colours. My experiment led to flagrant petunia flowers.” In his presentation on the topic ‘Specialised metabolic pathways: cues controlling floral scent production,’ Dr. Vainstein said, “Genetically enhanced petunia has higher floral scent compounds and pigmentation, which can be commercially exploited. We also found that humans can distinguish the scent of genetically enhanced flowers, making it a lucrative proposition for the perfume industry.”

The conference also highlighted research advances in plant biology to create wines with floral flavours. A press note quoting Dr. Vainstein said transgenic yeast had been found to be a successful agent in developing wines with unique floral flavours.

This article was written by T. Nandakumar. You can find the original article here:

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