Save the Flowers: Science News Online, Sept. 24, 2005:
"Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other," notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. "In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10," says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers' bottom lines.
Fragrance is different. It's invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste.