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Chemosphere. 2010 Feb;78(8):942-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2009.12.047. Epub 2010 Jan 25.

Environmental control of terpene emissions from Cistus monspeliensis L. in natural Mediterranean shrublands.

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Aix-Marseille Université - Institut Méditerranéen d'Ecologie et de Paléoécologie (IMEP UMR CNRS 6116), Equipe Diversité Fonctionnelle des Communautés Végétales, Centre St. Charles, Case 4, 13331 Marseille Cedex 03, France.


The large amount of volatile organic compound (VOC) emitted by vegetation modifies air quality contributing to both tropospheric ozone and secondary organic aerosol production. A better understanding of the factors controlling VOC emissions by vegetation is mandatory in order to improve emission estimates derived from tropospheric chemistry models. Although the Mediterranean shrublands are particularly abundant and rich in emitting species, their emission potential is poorly known. Focusing on a VOC-emitting shrub species widespread in the Mediterranean area (Cistus monspeliensis L.), we measured and analysed its emissions of terpenes taking into account the age of individuals, the season of sampling and the soil type. Sampling was done under natural environmental conditions. Species of the genus Cistus are frequently reported to be storing species, although we found only one stored monoterpene and three sesquiterpenes in very low amount. Major emitted compounds were alpha-pinene and beta-myrcene. Total terpene emissions were not influenced by plant age but emission of some individual terpenes was positively correlated with age. A strong seasonal effect was evidenced. A larger amount of terpenes was emitted during spring and summer than during fall and winter. Summer emission rates were nearly 70 times higher than winter emission rates. Total and individual terpene emissions were influenced by soil type; emissions on siliceous substrate were ca. seven times higher than those on calcareous substrate. In conclusion, it appears clearly that environmental factors such as soil nature and season should be taken into account in order to achieve improved modelling of terpene emissions by shrub species.

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