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Drought effects on volatile organic compound emissions from Scots pine stems

Kaisa Rissanen, Juho Aalto, Arthur Gessler, Teemu Hölttä, Andreas Rigling, Marcus Schaub, Jaana Bäck
Plant, cell and environment 2022 v.45 no.1 pp. 23-40
Pinus sylvestris, acetaldehyde, acetone, adsorbents, atmospheric chemistry, drought, environment, forests, irrigation, methanol, monoterpenoids, summer, temperature, trees, volatile organic compounds
Tree stems have been identified as sources of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that play important roles in tree defence and atmospheric chemistry. Yet, we lack understanding on the magnitude and environmental drivers of stem VOC emissions in various forest ecosystems. Due to the increasing importance of extreme drought, we studied drought effects on the VOC emissions from mature Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) stems. We measured monoterpenes, acetone, acetaldehyde and methanol emissions with custom‐made stem chambers, online PTR‐MS and adsorbent sampling in a drought‐prone forest over the hot‐dry summer of 2018 and compared the emission rates and dynamics between trees in naturally dry conditions and under long‐term irrigation (drought release). The pine stems were significant monoterpene sources. The stem monoterpene emissions potentially originated from resin, based on their similar monoterpene spectra. The emission dynamics of all VOCs followed temperature at a daily scale, but monoterpene and acetaldehyde emission rates decreased nonlinearly with drought over the summer. Despite the dry conditions, large peaks of monoterpene, acetaldehyde and acetone emissions occurred in late summer potentially due to abiotic or biotic stressors. Our results highlight the potential importance of stem emissions in the ecosystem VOC budget, encouraging further studies in diverse environments.