Condensed Tannins in Plant Defense: A Perspective on Classical Theories

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Contribution to Book

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Plant Polyphenols. Synthesis, Properties, Significance

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Classical theories of condensed tannin-herbivore interactions should be reassesed. Condensed tannins may act in ways apart from digestion inhibition and may even act as metabolic toxins outside of the digestive system. Recent research has also questioned the generalized nature of condensed tannins as plant defenses; some condensed tannins are more deleterious to herbivores than others. In cases where condensed tannins do act as defensive compounds, however, animals may learn through experience rather than instinctively avoid high tannin content plants.

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