The effect of elevated ozone on floral chemistry of Brassicaceae species
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CitationSaunier, Amélie. Blande, James D. (2019). The effect of elevated ozone on floral chemistry of Brassicaceae species. Environmental pollution, 255 (Part 2) , 113257. 10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113257.
Tropospheric ozone is a major atmospheric pollutant; it is phytotoxic and has a strong effect on phytochemicals, which are constitutively present in plant tissues, but also produced de novo in response to stress. It has been shown that ozone exposure can modify volatile phytochemical emissions from leaves, which could disturb interactions between plants and other organisms. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the effects of ozone on floral chemistry. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of two elevated ozone exposure scenarios (80 and 120 ppb during daylight hours for 5 consecutive days) on the floral volatile emissions and floral chemical (molecular size range C6–C20) content of four Brassicaceae species: Sinapis alba, Sinapis arvensis, Brassica napus and Brassica nigra. The results showed that the emissions of individual compounds and their relative contributions to volatile blends are both affected by ozone exposure. In addition, for all four species studied, three diterpenes (neophytadiene, cis-phytol and trans-phytol) were present in significantly lower amounts and a fourth diterpene (hexahydrofarnesyl acetone) in significantly greater amounts in ozone-exposed plants. Consistent effects of ozone exposure on volatile emissions and terpene content were observed for each of the four species studied with no significant effect of exposure level. It appeared that B. napus is the most ozone-sensitive species, whereas B. nigra is the most ozone-tolerant. Since earlier studies have indicated that ratios of phytochemicals can have substantial effects on the efficacy of chemical use by pollinators, these changes may have ecological and biological relevance that should be the focus of further elucidation.