Aquilaria spp. or agarwood is a rather peculiar plant as its value increases the more damaged it is. A long sought after commodity across the Middle East and Asia, its fragrance and medicinal properties are only formed when the tree undergoes stress. Trauma caused by physical or bacterial attacks causes the agarwood to secrete a special resin, and it is this process which gives it its aromatic properties.
How this process works is not yet understood. What little is known is that resin-transformed agarwood is a rare occurrence in its natural habitat, therefore efforts have been made to induce this process through artificial means. A recent study published in Frontiers further details the transformation process of the Agarwood on a chemical level and how it impacts the global trade scene. Due to increased demand and low natural production, the agarwood is fast approaching extinction status, unless we can figure out how to responsibly farm it through sustainable methods.
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