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Fagus sylvatica L. provenances maintain different leaf metabolic profiles and functional response

Aranda, Ismael, Sánchez-Gómez, David, de Miguel, Marina, Mancha, Jose Antonio, Guevara, María Angeles, Cadahía, Estrella, Fernández de Simón, María Brígida
Acta oecologica 2017 v.82 pp. 1-9
Fagus sylvatica, carbon nitrogen ratio, climate change, ecophysiology, ferulic acid, forest trees, greenhouse experimentation, intraspecific variation, isoleucine, kaempferol, leaves, metabolomics, nitrogen, phenotype, provenance, secondary metabolites, seedlings, stable isotopes, temperate forests, valine, water stress, Germany, Spain, Sweden
Most temperate forest tree species will suffer important environmental changes as result of the climate change. Adaptiveness to local conditions could change at different sites in the future. In this context, the study of intra-specific variability is important to clarify the singularity of different local populations. Phenotypic differentiation between three beech provenances covering a wide latitudinal range (Spain/ES, Germany/DE and Sweden/SE), was studied in a greenhouse experiment. Non-target leaf metabolite profiles and ecophysiological response was analyzed in well-watered and water stressed seedlings. There was a provenance-specific pattern in the relative concentrations of some leaf metabolites regardless watering treatment. The DE and SE from the center and north of the distribution area of the species showed a clear differentiation from the ES provenance in the relative concentration of some metabolites. Thus the ES provenance from the south maintained larger relative concentration of some organic and amino acids (e.g. fumaric and succinic acids or valine and isoleucine), and in some secondary metabolites (e.g. kaempferol, caffeic and ferulic acids). The ecophysiological response to mild water stress was similar among the three provenances as a consequence of the moderate water stress applied to seedlings, although leaf N isotope composition (δ15N) and leaf C:N ratio were higher and lower respectively in DE than in the other two provenances. This would suggest potential differences in the capacity to uptake and post-process nitrogen according to provenance. An important focus of the study was to address for the first time inter-provenance leaf metabolic diversity in beech from a non-targeted metabolic profiling approach that allowed differentiation of the three studied provenances.