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Diacetin, a reliable cue and private communication channel in a specialized pollination system : signalling between oil flowers and oil bees / Irmgard Schäffler, Kim E. Steiner, Mark Haid, Sander S. van Berkel, Günter Gerlach, Steven D. Johnson, Ludger Wessjohann, and Stefan Dötterl
AuthorSchäffler, Irmgard In der Gemeinsamen Normdatei der DNB nachschlagen ; Steiner, Kim E. ; Dötterl, Stefan ; Haid, Mark ; Berkel, Sander S. van ; Gerlach, Günter ; Johnson, Steven D. ; Wessjohann, Ludger
Published in
Scientific Reports, 2016,
Document typeJournal Article
Keywords (EN)Chemical ecology / Plant signalling
URNurn:nbn:at:at-ubs:3-173 Persistent Identifier (URN)
 The work is publicly available
Diacetin, a reliable cue and private communication channel in a specialized pollination system [1 mb]
Abstract (English)

The interaction between floral oil secreting plants and oil-collecting bees is one of the most specialized of all pollination mutualisms. Yet, the specific stimuli used by the bees to locate their host flowers have remained elusive. This study identifies diacetin, a volatile acetylated glycerol, as a floral signal compound shared by unrelated oil plants from around the globe. Electrophysiological measurements of antennae and behavioural assays identified diacetin as the key volatile used by oil-collecting bees to locate their host flowers. Furthermore, electrophysiological measurements indicate that only oil-collecting bees are capable of detecting diacetin. The structural and obvious biosynthetic similarity between diacetin and associated floral oils make it a reliable cue for oil-collecting bees. It is easily perceived by oil bees, but cant be detected by other potential pollinators. Therefore, diacetin represents the first demonstrated private communication channel in a pollination system.

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