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Keywords:

  • Algal polysaccharide;
  • elicitor;
  • Holm oak;
  • inducible volatiles;
  • Scots pine;
  • terpenes

Abstract

Plant defence can be induced by exposing plants to the plant hormone jasmonic acid (JA) or its volatile ester, methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Carrageenans (Carr) – sulphated d-galactans extracted from red algae – can also induce plant defences. In this study, the effects of exogenous MeJA and Carr application (concentration 300 and 12.7 μmol, respectively) on volatile emissions from two widespread evergreen woody species, Pinus sylvestris (nine Turkish and one Finnish provenance) and Quercus ilex (Italian provenance) were investigated. We collected headspace samples from seedlings and analysed the quality and quantity of volatile compounds emitted by treated and control plants. In total, 19 monoterpenes, 10 sesquiterpenes, 10 green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and two aromatic compounds were emitted by P. sylvestris from all the provenances studied. Foliar MeJA application clearly affected the volatile profiles of trees from all the provenances. Effects of Carr were genotype specific. In Q. ilex, emissions of sesquiterpenes, GLVs and the homoterpene (E)-DMNT were all induced by MeJA application. However, emissions of most constitutively emitted monoterpenes were significantly reduced. Carr application also led to a significant reduction in monoterpene emissions, but without corresponding increases in other emissions. Our results indicate that exogenously applied MeJA and Carr can both significantly modify the volatile profiles of P. sylvestris and Q. ilex, but also that there are important provenance- and species-specific differences in the overall degree of elicitation and compositions of elicited compounds.