sptlt216All kinds of strategies are used by living beings for their survival. Humans lay down traps to catch prey, chameleons melt into their environment to hide from predators and foxes cross water to bewilder those hunting them. Because of their inability to move, plants have devised the most elaborate ways of deceiving their environment in order to grow. They can exude scents or even produce fake fruit to attract pollinators for instance. They can also synthesize hosts of different molecules that, once released, fight off microbes. But there is yet another master plan used by many plant species as a means of defence. European maize, for example, is able to synthesize a molecule known as (E)-β-caryophyllene which is released by the plant's leaves and roots in the presence of larvae feeding on them. (E)-β-caryophyllene does not actually kill off the larvae but attracts yet other organisms that will feed on the herbivorous parasites, thus stalling harm that could be made to the plant. The enzyme at the heart of (E)-β-caryophyllene synthesis is a terpene synthase, known as TPS23. Read more