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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Odors of Norway spruce (Picea abies L.) seedlings: differences due to age and chemotype

Kännaste, Astrid; Zhao, Tao; Lindström, Anders; Stattin, E; Långström, Bo; Borg-Karlsson, Anna-Karin


Small conifer seedlings (mini-seedlings) are less damaged by the large pine weevil Hylobius abietis (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) compared to conventional seedlings. Chemical difference between the seedling types is one possible explanation for this phenomenon. In the present paper, the emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC) of 7- to 43-week-old Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] seedlings were analyzed. Collection and identification of the volatiles was made by solid phase micro-extraction and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS). The enantiomers of alpha-pinene and limonene were separated in a two-dimensional GC (2D-GC). Most of the seedlings represented either a limonene- or a bornyl acetate-chemotype. Only minor changes in the volatile composition of the two types of seedlings were found during the first year. Age-related changes, however, were found in the volatiles released by wounded phloem where green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and borneol were the dominated VOC for young seedling. The attractive compound for the pine weevil, alpha-pinene, was first detected in the phloem emissions of 18- to 22-week-old seedlings. Different storage conditions of the seedlings during the winter/early spring-phase influenced the volatile composition in the phloem. High amount of GLVs was characteristic for the 43-week-old seedlings stored in naturally changing outdoor temperature, but not present in the seedlings winter-stored at a constant temperature of -4 A degrees C. The possible role of these observed differences in odor emissions between seedlings of different age and physiological status for the feeding preferences of the large pine weevil is discussed.


Picea abies (L.) Karst.; Mini-seedling; Volatile emission; Chemotype; Age; Green leaf volatiles; Estragol

Published in

Trees - Structure and Function
2013, volume: 27, number: 1, pages: 149-159
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Kännaste, Astrid
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Zhao, Tao
Lindström, Anders
Stattin, E
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology
Borg-Karlsson, Anna-Karin

UKÄ Subject classification

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Forest Science

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