Compounds Formed In Response To Pathogen Attack

Compounds formed in response to stress may occur in at least two ways. In one response, the plant may form compounds throughout the tissue at a considerable distance from the infection site (Hammerschmidt, 1999). In another response, the plant may form compounds specifically at the infection site. This may include only a few cells and in rare cases, as few as one or two cells. (Snyder and Nicholson, 1990; Nicholson and Wood, 2001). In general, such compounds are referred to as either stress metabolites or more often as phytoalexins. By definition phytoalexins are formed in response to infection (Aguero et al., 2002; Lo et al., 2002; Hammerschmidt and Nicholson, 2001; Lo and Nicholson, 1998). Phytoalexins often exhibit toxicity to specific pathogens. In this case there is a genetic relationship between the expression of phytoalexin synthesis and the organism that induces that synthesis (Essenberg et al., 1985).

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