Seasonal contrasting changes of foliar concentrations of terpenes and other volatile organic compound in four dominant species of a Mediterranean shrubland submitted to a field experimental drought and warming

Joan Llusià, Josep Peñuelas, Giorgio A. Alessio, Marc Estiarte

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    54 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    To test the effect of forecasted drought and warming conditions for the next decades by GCM and ecophysiological models on foliar concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and especially of volatile terpenes, we studied four typical Mediterranean woody plants (Pinus halepensis L., Pistacia lentiscus L., Rosmarinus officinalis L. and Globularia alypum L.) under a field experimental drought and warming generated using automatically sliding curtains. Terpenes were detected in the four studied species (R. officinalis L., P halepensis L., Pistacia lentiscus L. and G. alypum L.). In general, maximum concentrations of terpenes were found in the coldest periods and minimum concentrations in the summer. Their concentrations ranged between 0.003 mg g-1 DM (eugenol) in G. alypum under drought conditions and 37 mg g-1 DM in R. officinalis under control conditions. Main volatile terpenes found in all studied species except in G. alypum were α-pinene, camphene, β-pinene, β-phellandrene and caryophyllene. In general, VOC leaf concentrations increased when soil moisture increased and decreased when air temperature increased. However, contrasting not consistent responses to the drought and warming treatments were found among species, seasons and years. For example, in P. halepensis, the concentrations decreased in response to drought in winter and instead increased in summer. Contrarily, drought decreased concentrations in summer and increased them in winter in Pistacia lentiscus. In any case, the data on seasonal VOC concentration in Mediterranean woody species provided here will add new knowledge of seasonal variation in essential oil contents of these species. These data might help in the study of flammability of Mediterranean ecosystems and in improving prediction algorithms, inventories and modelling of monoterpene emissions in response to climate change, which mostly do not consider the changes in concentration under drought stress. However, the lack of general and consistent response patterns to increasing drought and warming among species, seasons and years found here makes this task difficult. Copyright © Physiologia Plantarum 2006.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)632-649
    JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
    Volume127
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006

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