Intraspecific variability of phenolic concentrations and their responses to elevated CO2 in two mediterranean perennial grasses

Eva Castells, Catherine Roumet, Josep Peñuelas*, Jacques Roy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Intraspecific variability of total phenolic compound concentrations and their responses to elevated CO2 were studied in two wild Mediterranean perennial grasses, Dactylis glomerata and Bromus erectus. Ten and nine genotypes of each species were grown in climate-controlled naturally-lit glasshouses under plant intergenotypic and interspecific competition for water, light and nutrients. Carbon source-sink balance hypotheses of resource allocation were also tested. Elevated CO2 induced changes in dry shoot biomass (DM), leaf total non-structural carbohydrate concentrations [TNC] and leaf nitrogen concentrations [N] found in a previous study (New Phytol. 143 (1999) 73) were related to changes in phenolic compound concentrations. Phenolic compound concentrations increased to 15.2% DM in D. glomerata and 86.9% DM in B. erectus under elevated CO2. These changes were more pronounced when expressed on a structural dry mass basis (DMst). Increases in DMst and [TNCst] and decreases in [Nst] were also found according to current resource allocation hypotheses. However, there were no proportional changes between phenolic responses to elevated CO2 and DMst, [TNCst] and [Nst] responses. Phenolic concentrations were highly determined by genetics in both species, but all studied genotypes responded in a similar way to elevated CO2. Considering the present experimental conditions with plants growing in intraspecific and interspecific competition, the absence of CO2 × genotype interaction would lead to little changes of fitness in terms of antiherbivore chemical defence, and, therefore, to low evolutionary consequences in CBSC under the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations of the next decades. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-216
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2002


  • Bromus erectus
  • Carbon-nutrient balance
  • Dactylis glomerata
  • Genotypes
  • Heritability


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