The Agarwood is a valuable commodity, especially in the Chinese and Middle Eastern market where it is used for medicinal purposes and raw material for incense and perfumes. Agarwood is a resinous part of the non-timber Aquilaria tree and only forms when the tree is wounded and infected with fungus. Resin is secreted as a defense reaction and over the years volatile compounds are accumulated which eventually forms agarwood.
Due to overwhelming demand the species is facing threat of extinction and is currently protected as an endangered species. In order to deal with shortages sustainable mass cultivation of the tree will have to be developed. This paper by a team at the National University of Malaysia attempts to pinpoint which chemical compounds yield the best and consistent results to artificially solve the world’s agarwood crisis.