• Quercus robur;
  • enzyme capacity;
  • isoprene emission;
  • isoprene synthase activity;
  • leaf development

Pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) is known as a strong isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) emitter. Diurnal changes in isoprene emission were determined by branch enclosure measurements. In contrast to the diurnal cycle in emission rates, specific isoprene synthase activity in the leaves remained unchanged. Based on in vitro enzyme activity and its temperature dependency, an isoprene synthesis capacity at specific leaf temperatures was calculated. The comparison of these ‘leaf temperature-dependent enzyme capacities’ and the measured emission rates revealed that the enzyme activity of isoprene synthase is comparable to the observed isoprene emission rates. In addition, variation in the isoprene synthase activity of the leaves due to changes in light intensity during leaf development was investigated. A 50% reduction of light intensity by shading of single branches reduced isoprene synthase activity by ≈ 60% compared with full sunlight. The calculation of isoprene synthesis capacities based on enzymatic data obtained under optimum reaction conditions, corrected for actual leaf temperature and related to leaf surface area, provides a sound basis for predicting the isoprene emission potential of plants.