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Published on Jun 14, 2012
This study shows the role of secondary metabolites in ripe fruits in shaping plant-animal interactions, not only by directly deterring seed predators but also by modifying their behavior. Here Samuni-Blank et al. demonstrate the use of the "mustard oil bomb" to enhance seed dispersal by converting a seed predator to a seed disperser at an ecological timescale. This is achieved by a unique compartmentalization between glucosinolates found only in the pulp and a myrosinase enzyme found only in the seeds of ripe fruits, causing activation of the mustard oil bomb upon seed and pulp coconsumption, resulting in the first reported evidence of seed dispersal via seed spitting by rodents.