Israeli researchers genetically enhance smell of flowers

October 8th, 2008 - 2:44 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 8 (ANI): Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have discovered how to not only boost the natural smell of flowers by up to 10 fold but also transfer different scents between plants.

The research team has found a way to genetically enhance the scent of flowers and implant a scent in those that don”t have one.

“Aroma is of major importance for defining the taste of food, said Prof. Alexander Vainstein, who is heading the team at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Scent in flowers and plants, is what attracts pollinating insects like bees and beetles that pass on the pollen and help in the reproduction and creation of fruit. The intensity of the scent that the flower emanates is influenced by the time of day, depending on weather, age of the flower and the species.

In the study, the researchers devised a way to enhance the scent of a flower by ten-fold and even cause it to emit a scent during day and night - irrespective of the natural rhythm of scent production.

The new method has huge implications in enhancing other agricultural produce as well.

Utilisation of natural components will increase and change not only the smell of fruit and vegetables, but will also influence the commercial appeal of a wide array of produce.

Vainstein said that the flower industry may also be benefited with this development.

“Many flowers lost their scent over many years of breeding. Recent developments will help to create flowers with increased scent as well as producing new scent components in the flowers, he added.

According to the Flowers and Plants Association surveys, one third of the participants claimed that it was the scent that influenced their choice of flower purchase.

Floral scents are also one of the most popular smells and the perfume industry expends a great deal of effort trying to reproduce the authentic fragrance of fresh flowers.

The study is published recently in the Plant Biotechnology Journal. (ANI)

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