Is the nectar redox cycle a floral defense against microbial attack?

Clay Carter, Robert W. Thornburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations


Many angiosperms use a remarkable reproductive strategy that relies on attracting animals (insect, avian or mammalian pollinators) to transfer pollen between plants. Relying on other organisms for sexual reproduction seems evolutionarily untenable, but the great diversity of angiosperms illustrates how highly successful this strategy is. To attract pollinators, plants offer a variety of rewards. Perhaps the primary floral reward is floral nectar. Plant nectar has long been considered a simple sugar solution but recent work has demonstrated that nectar is a complex biological fluid containing significant and important biochemistry with the potential function of inhibiting microbial growth. These results lead the way to novel insights into the mechanisms of floral defense and the co-evolution of angiosperms and their pollinators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-324
Number of pages5
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Iowa State University Plant Sciences Center and the National Science Foundation (IBN-#0235645).

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Is the nectar redox cycle a floral defense against microbial attack?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this