Examining the mass transfer of volatiles and water from plants to the atmosphere

Interdisciplinary Areas: Others

Project Description

Global warming has direct and indirect affects on the production of food and chemicals from plants. In this project, we will analyze the water loss from flowers as a function of temperature and wind speed. We will utilize a combination of experimental measurements and molecular dynamic simulations of chemicals leaving the flower as functions of the composition of the flowers waxy surface layer. We will also test the transport of water and volatile organic chemicals leaving flowers and leaves of several species to determine the rules governing mass transfer. The results of this work will be incorporated into global warming models.


Start Date

January 2024


Postdoc Qualifications

PhD in chemical or biological engineering or biochemistry.

Some of the desired, but not required skills are experience with plant transformation, growth, volatile characterization by GC/MS. Mathematical modeling of mass transfer based processes. Molecular dynamics simulations.



John A Morgan, jamorgan@purdue.edu, Chemical Engineering
Natalia Dudareva, dudarev@purdue.edu, Biochemistry


Short Bibliography

1) Funmilayo A. et al., Emission of volatile organic compounds from petunia flowers is facilitated by an ABC transporter.Science356, 1386-1388(2017).DOI:10.1126/science.aan0826

2) Widhalm et al., Rethinking how volatiles are released from plant cells,
Trends in Plant Science,20,2015, 545-550. doi.org/10.1016/j.tplants.2015.06.009

3) Plant volatiles: going ‘in’but not ‘out’of trichome cavities. (2017)A Tissier, JA Morgan, N Dudareva. Trends in plant science 22, 930-938

4) Liao, P., Maoz, I., Shih, ML. et al. Emission of floral volatiles is facilitated by cell-wall non-specific lipid transfer proteins. Nat Commun 14, 330 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36027-9

5) Diffusion of volatile organics and water in the epicuticular waxes of petunia petal epidermal cells. (2022) S Ray, BM Savoie, N Dudareva, JA Morgan Plant Journal 110, 658-672