Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Plant Latex: A Potential Resource of Bioactive Chemicals

How and why latex bearing plants select specific chemical compounds for eco-chemical interactions with its biotic factors?

2015 - 2019
Young Hae Choi
Conacyt - Gobierno de México Conacyt - Gobierno de México

Dr. Dejan Godevac, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Plants produce latex or exudate as the first contact place to interact with other organisms, which resulted in high concentration of bioactive compounds. Also, there are different types of exudates produced by plants, such as gums, oleoresins, resins, extra fascicular phloem and latexes. Is believed that all these kinds of exudates are result of an adaptive response to biotic factors. Plant latex is a sap, typically white sap, is stored into laticifers and exudate from a point of damage in plant tissues immediately after herbivory or mechanical damage. Actually, latex confers to the plant mechanical and biochemical defenses. Its chemical composition based on secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, cardenolides, phenolics, starch, furanocoumarins, sugars and non-protein amino acids, also proteins like compounds and rubber confers not only anti-herbivore effect to latex but antimicrobial properties. Sometimes we can find similar chemical composition between latex bearing tissue and latex itself; besides the concentration of some shared compounds is much higher in latex, so because of this latex is has been associated to defensive rolls in plants. But why a plant should be produce similar chemical profiles in two different specialized tissues if this mean more energy investment? And what is the biological meaning of these specialization?

Proposed system for the defensive strategy of plant latex or exudates


  • Metabolic changes in Euphorbia palusrtis latex after fungal infection of the plant. G. Krstić, B. Anđelković, Y. H. Choi, V. Vajs, T. Stević, V. Tešević, D. Gođevac. Phytochemistry, 131, 17-25 2016.
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