Salicylic acid (from the Latin word for the willow tree, Salix, from whose bark it can be obtained) is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) with the formula C6H4(OH)CO2H, where the OH group is adjacent to the carboxyl group. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin. It is probably best known as a compound that is chemically similar to but not identical to the active component of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). In fact, salicylic acid is a metabolite of aspirin, the product of esterase hydrolysis in the liver. It is highly soluble in water.
Salicylic acid (SA) is a phytohormone; and a phenol, ubiquitous in plants generating a significant impact on plant growth and development, photosynthesis, transpiration, ion uptake and transport and also induces specific changes in leaf anatomy and chloroplast structure. SA is recognized as an endogenous signal, mediating in plant defense, against pathogens. It plays a role in the resistance of pathogens by inducing the production of 'pathogenesis-related proteins'. It is involved in the systemic acquired resistance [SAR] in which a pathogenic attack on older leaves causes the development of resistance in younger leaves, though whether SA is the transmitted signal is debatable.
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