Within-plant distribution of volatile compounds on the leaf surface of Flourensia cernua

TitleWithin-plant distribution of volatile compounds on the leaf surface of Flourensia cernua
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsEstell RE, James D.K, Fredrickson E.L., Anderson D.M.
JournalBiochemical Systematics and Ecology
Start Page144
Date Published01/2013
ARIS Log Number286868
KeywordsFlourensia cernua, leaf age, plant secondary metabolites, terpenes, volatiles, within-plant distribution

We are using Flourensia cernua as a shrub model to study the role of terpenes on intake by livestock. Two experiments were conducted to examine distribution of volatile chemicals within a plant in an effort to minimize sample variability. In Exp. 1, leaves (current year's growth) were collected from 20 tarbush plants. Two leaders were sampled from each of three positions (outer canopy, subcanopy, and basal) in all four quadrants (based on ordinal direction). In Exp. 2, 10 leaders of current year's growth were removed from another 20 plants. Leaders were collected from the outer canopy of each quadrant and separated into thirds before removing leaves, thereby creating three leaf age categories. Volatile compounds were extracted with ethanol and analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Ninety-four chemicals (including 15 unknowns) were present on the leaf surface of F. cernua. Although 14 and 21 compounds differed (P < 0.05) among quadrants in Exp. 1 and 2, respectively, no consistent quadrant effect was detected in either study. Leaf position differed (P < 0.05) for 52 chemicals in Exp. 1 but outer canopy and subcanopy leaves differed for only 10 compounds. In Exp. 2, 63 compounds differed among leaf age categories. Immature leaves contained greater concentrations of 46 chemicals (P < 0.05) than moderate or mature age categories, but moderate and mature leaves differed for only seven compounds. Estimated total concentration (i.e., cumulative concentration of all compounds) was not affected by leaf position but varied among leaf age categories (P < 0.05; immature > moderate > mature). Differences in leaf position were attributed about equally to mono- and sesquiterpenes, whereas leaf age was affected to a greater extent by sesquiterpenes. Leaf position and maturity both affect terpene concentration and sampling variability for tarbush. However, little difference was detected between subcanopy and canopy positions. Thus, by avoiding basal sprouts and sampling from the mid-point of current year's growth, sampling variation should be minimal.