Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Biogeosciences, 8, 1023–1030, 2011
Biogeosciences, 8, 1023–1030, 2011

Research article 29 Apr 2011

Research article | 29 Apr 2011

Short term changes in methanol emission and pectin methylesterase activity are not directly affected by light in Lycopersicon esculentum

P. Y. Oikawa1, L. Li1, M. P. Timko1, J. E. Mak2, and M. T. Lerdau1,3 P. Y. Oikawa et al.
  • 1Department of Biology, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400328, Charlottesville, 22904-4328 VA, USA
  • 2School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, 11794-5000, NY, USA
  • 3Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400123, Charlottesville, 22904-4123 VA, USA

Abstract. Plants are an important source of atmospheric methanol (MeOH), the second most abundant organic gas after methane. Factors regulating phytogenic MeOH production are not well constrained in current MeOH emission models. Previous studies have indicated that light may have a direct influence on MeOH production. As light is known to regulate cell wall expansion, it was predicted that light would stimulate MeOH production through the pectin methylesterase (PME) pathway. MeOH emissions normalized for stomatal conductance (gs) did not, however, increase with light over short time scales (20–30 min). After experimentally controlling for gs and temperature, no light activation of PME activity or MeOH emission was observed. The results clearly demonstrate that light does not directly influence short-term changes in MeOH production and emission. Our data suggest that substrate limitation may be important in regulating MeOH production over short time scales. Future investigation of the long-term impacts of light on MeOH production may increase understanding of MeOH emission dynamics at the seasonal time scale.

Final-revised paper