Intrapopulation Genotypic Variation of Foliar Secondary Chemistry during Leaf Senescence and Litter Decomposition in Silver Birch (Betula pendula)
Self archived versionpublished version
MetadataShow full item record
CitationPaaso Ulla. Keski-Saari Sarita. Keinänen Markku. Karvinen Heini. Silfver Tarja. Rousi Matti. Mikola Juha. (2017). Intrapopulation Genotypic Variation of Foliar Secondary Chemistry during Leaf Senescence and Litter Decomposition in Silver Birch (Betula pendula). Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 1074. 10.3389/fpls.2017.01074.
Abundant secondary metabolites, such as condensed tannins, and their interpopulation genotypic variation can remain through plant leaf senescence and affect litter decomposition. Whether the intrapopulation genotypic variation of a more diverse assortment of secondary metabolites equally persists through leaf senescence and litter decomposition is not well understood. We analyzed concentrations of intracellular phenolics, epicuticular flavonoid aglycones, epicuticular triterpenoids, condensed tannins, and lignin in green leaves, senescent leaves and partly decomposed litter of silver birch, Betula pendula. Broad-sense heritability (H2) and coefficient of genotypic variation (CVG) were estimated for metabolites in senescent leaves and litter using 19 genotypes selected from a B. pendula population in southern Finland. We found that most of the secondary metabolites remained through senescence and decomposition and that their persistence was related to their chemical properties. Intrapopulation H2 and CVG for intracellular phenolics, epicuticular flavonoid aglycones and condensed tannins were high and remarkably, increased from senescent leaves to decomposed litter. The rank of genotypes in metabolite concentrations was persistent through litter decomposition. Lignin was an exception, however, with a diminishing genotypic variation during decomposition, and the concentrations of lignin and condensed tannins had a negative genotypic correlation in the senescent leaves. Our results show that secondary metabolites and their intrapopulation genotypic variation can for the most part remain through leaf senescence and early decomposition, which is a prerequisite for initial litter quality to predict variation in litter decomposition rates. Persistent genotypic variation also opens an avenue for selection to impact litter decomposition in B. pendula populations through acting on their green foliage secondary chemistry. The negative genotypic correlations and diminishing heritability of lignin concentrations may, however, counteract this process.