Nature communicates with perfumes

by Paolo Fadelli

When we perfume ourselves, we never do it distractedly, on the contrary after having done it we listen: we want to hear what vibrations that smell arouses in that moment. He whispers and we listen. It is a beautiful and very intimate experience. When we wear a fragrance we do it mainly to communicate with others: to get noticed, to seek appreciation, or to seduce, to feel different, to intrigue.

We need perfume to communicate like the gaze of gestures and words. We know this because we have learned it from nature.
It is common experience of how the skin of women during the period of greatest fertility (in the days of ovulation) gives off a more intense smell to be noticed and to attract the male gender.

More generally, the role of perfume in animal reproduction is well established.
But plants also communicate with perfumes, and not only those emblazoned in perfumery, but also simple blades of grass.
The scent of the grass we smell when we lie down on the lawn is given by a group of molecules called in English GREEN LEAF VOLATILE (GLV), that is, "volatile substances of green leaves", which is mainly made up of a series of 6 molecules carbon atoms. 

These molecules are continuously released (in low dosage) from the stems.
However, if the blades of grass "suffer an aggression" and are cut, then the scent becomes more intense, the chemical composition and therefore the fragrance change.
It is an ingenious and sophisticated defense and alarm mechanism.

Depending on the “threat” that the grass is subjected to, it gives off slightly different odors, which change, for example, if it is grazed by a herbivore or cut by a lawnmower. And all this does not happen by chance!
This change in perfume in fact triggers four actions and reactions: di
⁃ It is primarily antibacterial and antifungal, protecting the stem where it was cut.
⁃ It is also repellent for herbivorous insects which are very dangerous for the plant in that moment of fragility.
⁃ It also acts as an alarm for nearby plants, which - chemically warned by the lawn - implement their own defense mechanisms, such as the release of repellents and the storage of nutrients towards the roots.
- And finally - and here nature amazes! - a powerful call for predatory insects, which arrive on the lawn to attack any animals that may have caused the cutting of the grass stems.
What an amazing process of communicating with smell! Incredible indeed!
And to think that we have witnessed it hundreds of times, unaware of what was really going on.
Because perfume is like this: it communicates without being seen.

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