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Plant Physiol. 1996 Apr;110(4):1317-1322.

Evidence of the Photosynthetic Origin of Monoterpenes Emitted by Quercus ilex L. Leaves by 13C Labeling.

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  • 1Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)-Istituto di Biochimica ed Ecofisiologia Vegetali (F.L, D.T.) and CNR-Istituto per I'Inquinamento Atmosferico (P.C., A.C., E.B., M.F., C.F.), Via Salaria, Km 29,300-00016 Monterotondo Scalo, Rome, Italy.


The carbon of the four main monoterpenes emitted by Quercus ilex L. leaves was completely labeled with 13C after a 20-min feeding with 99% 13CO2. This labeling time course is comparable with the labeling time course of isoprene, the terpenoid emitted by other Quercus species and synthesized in leaf chloroplasts. It is also comparable with that of phosphoglyceric acid. Our experiment therefore provides evidence that monoterpenes emitted by Q. ilex are formed from photosynthesis intermediates and may share the same synthetic pathway with isoprene. By analyzing the rate and the distribution of labeling in the different fragments, we looked for evidence of differential carbon labeling in the [alpha]-pinene emitted. However, the labeling pattern was quite uniform in the different fragments, suggesting that the carbon skeleton of the emitted monoterpenes comes from a unique carbon source.

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