Nutrient-rich plants emit a less intense blend of volatile isoprenoids

Marcos Fernández-Martínez, Joan Llusià, Iolanda Filella, Ülo Niinemets, Almut Arneth, Ian J. Wright, Francesco Loreto, Josep Peñuelas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

42 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust The emission of isoprenoids (e.g. isoprene and monoterpenes) by plants plays an important defensive role against biotic and abiotic stresses. Little is known, however, about the functional traits linked to species-specific variability in the types and rates of isoprenoids emitted and about possible co-evolution of functional traits with isoprenoid emission type (isoprene emitter, monoterpene emitter or both). We combined data for isoprene and monoterpene emission rates per unit dry mass with key functional traits (foliar nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations, and leaf mass per area) and climate for 113 plant species, covering the boreal, wet temperate, Mediterranean and tropical biomes. Foliar N was positively correlated with isoprene emission, and foliar P was negatively correlated with both isoprene and monoterpene emission rate. Nonemitting plants generally had the highest nutrient concentrations, and those storing monoterpenes had the lowest concentrations. Our phylogenetic analyses found that the type of isoprenoid emission followed an adaptive, rather than a random model of evolution. Evolution of isoprenoids may be linked to nutrient availability. Foliar N and P are good predictors of the type of isoprenoid emission and the rate at which monoterpenes, and to a lesser extent isoprene, are emitted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-784
JournalNew Phytologist (Print)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • monoterpenes
  • nitrogen (N)
  • nutrient availability
  • phosphorus (P)
  • phylogeny
  • volatile organic compounds (VOCs)


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrient-rich plants emit a less intense blend of volatile isoprenoids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this