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Am J Bot. 2000 Jan;87(1):133-40.

Seasonal patterns of terpene content and emission from seven Mediterranean woody species in field conditions.

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CREAF (Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Aplicacions Forestals), Facultat de Ciències, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona), Catalonia, Spain.


The seasonal pattern of terpene content and emission by seven Mediterranean woody species was studied under field conditions. Emission rates were normalized at 30°C and 1000 μmol·m·s PFD (photosynthetic photon flux density). Bupleurum fruticosum, Pinus halepensis, and Cistus albidus stored large amounts of terpenes (0.01-1.77% [dry matter]) with maximum values in autumn and minimum values in spring. They emitted large amounts of terpenes (2-40 μg·g DM·h), but with no clear seasonal trend except for Cistus albidus, which had maximum values in spring and minimum values in autumn. The nonstoring species Arbutus unedo, Erica arborea, Quercus coccifera and Quercus ilex also emitted large amounts of terpenes (0-40 μg·g DM·h) and also tended to present maximum emission rates in spring, although this trend was significant only for A. unedo. At the seasonal scale, emission rates did not follow changes in photosynthetic rates; instead, they mostly followed changes in temperature. From autumn to spring, the least volatile monoterpenes such as limonene were emitted at highest rates, whereas the most volatile monoterpenes such as α-pinene and β-pinene were the most emitted in summer. The monoterpene emission rates represented a greater percentage of the photosynthetic carbon fixation in summer (from 0.51% in Arbutus unedo to 5.64% in Quercus coccifera) than in the rest of the seasons. All these seasonality trends must be considered when inventorying and modeling annual emission rates in Mediterranean ecosystems.

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