• Biogenic volatile compounds;
  • DMS ;
  • DMSP lyase;
  • ethylene;
  • Gelidium ;
  • red algae

The effects of different light conditions and exogenous ethylene on the emission of volatile compounds from the alga Gelidium arbuscula Bory de Saint-Vincent were studied. Special emphasis was placed on the possibility that the emission of ethylene and dimethyl sulfide (DMS) are related through the action of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) lyase. The conversion of DMSP to DMS and acrylate, which is catalyzed by DMSP lyase, can indirectly support the synthesis of ethylene through the transformation of acrylate to ethylene. After mimicking the desiccation of G. arbuscula thalli experienced during low tides, the volatile compounds emitted were trapped in the headspace of 2 mL glass vials for 1 h. Two methods based on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry revealed that the range of organic volatile compounds released was affected by abiotic factors, such as the availability and spectral quality of light, salinity, and exogenous ethylene. Amines and methyl alkyl compounds were produced after exposure to white light and darkness but not after exposure to exogenous ethylene or red light. Volatiles potentially associated with the oxidation of fatty acids, such as alkenes and low-molecular-weight oxygenated compounds, accumu-lated after exposure to exogenous ethylene and red light. Ethylene was produced in all treatments, especially after exposure to exogenous ethylene. Levels of DMS, the most abundant sulfur-compound that was emitted in all of the conditions tested, did not increase after incubation with ethylene. Thus, although DMSP lyase is active in G. arbuscula, it is unlikely to contribute to ethylene synthesis. The generation of ethylene and DMS do not appear to be coordinated in G. arbuscula.