Articles | Volume 8, issue 9
Research article
28 Sep 2011
Research article |  | 28 Sep 2011

Monoterpene and sesquiterpene emissions from Quercus coccifera exhibit interacting responses to light and temperature

M. Staudt and L. Lhoutellier

Abstract. Light and temperature are known to be the most important environmental factors controlling biogenic volatile organic compound (BVOC) emissions from plants, but little is known about their interdependencies especially for BVOCs other than isoprene. We studied light responses at different temperatures and temperature responses at different light levels of foliar BVOC emissions, photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence on Quercus coccifera, an evergreen oak widespread in Mediterranean shrublands. More than 50 BVOCs were detected in the emissions from Q. coccifera leaves most of them being isoprenoids plus a few green leaf volatiles (GLVs). Under standard conditions non-oxygenated monoterpenes (MT-hc) accounted for about 90% of the total BVOC release (mean ± SD: 738 ± 378 ng m−2 projected leaf area s−1 or 13.1 ± 6.9 μg g−1 leaf dry weight h−1) and oxygenated monoterpenes (MT-ox) and sesquiterpenes (SQTs) accounted for the rest in about equal proportions. Except GLVs, emissions of all BVOCs responded positively to light and temperature. The light responses of MT and SQT emissions resembled that of CO2-assimilation and were little influenced by the assay temperature: at high assay temperature, MT-hc emissions saturated at lower light levels than at standard assay temperature and tended even to decrease in the highest light range. The emission responses to temperature showed mostly Arrhenius-type response curves, whose shapes in the high temperature range were clearly affected by the assay light level and were markedly different between isoprenoid classes: at non-saturating light, all isoprenoids showed a similar temperature optimum (~43 °C), but, at higher temperatures, MT-hc emissions decreased faster than MT-ox and SQT emissions. At saturating light, MT-hc emissions peaked around 37 °C and rapidly dropped at higher temperatures, whereas MT-ox and SQT emissions strongly increased between 40 and 50 °C accompanied by a burst of GLVs. In all experiments, decreases of MT-hc emissions under high temperatures were correlated with decreases in CO2-assimilation and/or photosynthetic electron transport. We conclude that light and temperature can have interactive short-term effects on the quantity and quality of BVOC emissions from Q. coccifera through substrate limitations of MT biosynthesis occurring at temperatures supraoptimal for photosynthetic processes that are exacerbated by oxidative stress and membrane damages. Such interactive effects are likely to occur frequently during hot and dry summers and simulations made in this work showed that they may have important consequences for emission predictions.

Final-revised paper