Isoprene emission-free poplars – a chance to reduce the impact from poplar plantations on the atmosphere

Authors

  • Katja Behnke,

    1. Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS), Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rüdiger Grote,

    1. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), Kreuzeckbahnstraße 19, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Nicolas Brüggemann,

    1. Forschungszentrum Jülich, Agrosphere (IBG-3), 52425 Jülich, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ina Zimmer,

    1. Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS), Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Guanwu Zhou,

    1. Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mudawi Elobeid,

    1. Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dennis Janz,

    1. Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Andrea Polle,

    1. Forest Botany and Tree Physiology, Büsgen-Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 2, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jörg-Peter Schnitzler

    1. Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Biochemical Plant Pathology, Research Unit Environmental Simulation (EUS), Ingolstädter Landstraße 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This work is dedicated to the memory of Hanns Ulrich Seitz who died on 17 August 2011.

Author for correspondence:
Jörg-Peter Schnitzler
Tel: +49 89 3187 2413
E-mail: jp.schnitzler@helmholtz-muenchen.de

Summary

  • Depending on the atmospheric composition, isoprene emissions from plants can have a severe impact on air quality and regional climate. For the plant itself, isoprene can enhance stress tolerance and also interfere with the attraction of herbivores and parasitoids.
  • Here, we tested the growth performance and fitness of Populus × canescens in which isoprene emission had been knocked down by RNA interference technology (PcISPS-RNAi plants) for two growing seasons under outdoor conditions.
  • Neither the growth nor biomass yield of the PcISPS-RNAi poplars was impaired, and they were even temporarily enhanced compared with control poplars. Modelling of the annual carbon balances revealed a reduced carbon loss of 2.2% of the total gross primary production by the absence of isoprene emission, and a 6.9% enhanced net growth of PcISPS-RNAi poplars. However, the knock down in isoprene emission resulted in reduced susceptibility to fungal infection, whereas the attractiveness for herbivores was enhanced.
  • The present study promises potential for the use of non- or low-isoprene-emitting poplars for more sustainable and environmentally friendly biomass production, as reducing isoprene emission will presumably have positive effects on regional climate and air quality.

Ancillary