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Biochemical link between plant volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and CO2 metabolism - from sub-molecular to ecosystem scales (ERC Project)



  • Werner C., Meredith L.K., Ladd S.N., Ingrisch J., Kübert A., van Haren J., Bahn M., Bailey K., Bamberger I., Beyer M., Blomdahl D., Byron J., Daber E., Deleeuw J., Dippold M.A., Fudyma J., Gil-Loaiza J., Honeker L.K., Hu J., Huang J., Klüpfel T., Krechmer J., Kreuzwieser J., Kühnhammer K., Lehmann M.M., Meeran K., Misztal P.K., Ng W.-R., Pfannerstill E., Pugliese G., Purser G., Roscioli J., Shi L., Tfaily M., Williams J. (2021) Ecosystem fluxes during drought and recovery in an experimental forest. Science, 374, 15141518. doi: 10.1126/science.abj6789

  • Fasbender L., Yáñez-Serrano A.M., Kreuzwieser J., Dubbert D., Werner C. (2018). A novel approach combining PTR-TOF-MS, 13CO2 laser spectroscopy and 13C-metabolite labelling to trace real-time carbon allocation into biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) and respiratory carbon dioxide (CO2). PLOS One,13: e0204398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204398
  • Yáñez-Serrano A.M., Fasbender L., Kreuzwieser J., Dubbert D., Haberstroh S., Lobo-do-Vale R., Caldeira M.C., Werner C. (2018). Volatile diterpene emission by two Mediterranean Cistaceae shrubs. Scientific Reports 8:6855. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-25056-w

  • Haberstroh S., Kreuzwieser J., Lobo-do-Vale R., Caldeira M.C., Dubbert M., Werner C. (2018). Terpenoid emissions of two Mediterranean woody species in response to drought stress. Frontiers in Plant Science 9:1071. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01071


See also: B2WALD

Plant metabolic processes exert a large influence on global climate and air quality through the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Despite the enormous importance, processes controlling plant carbon allocation into primary and secondary metabolism, such as respiratory CO2 emission and VOC synthesis, remain unclear. 


The overall goal is the development of a novel technological and theoretical basis to couple investigation of CO2 fluxes and VOC emissions, establishing a mechanistic linkage between primary and secondary carbon metabolism. VOCO2 will evaluate carbon investment into VOCs, respiratory CO2 emission and the associated isotope effects among species with different plant functional traits, bridging scales from sub-molecular to the whole-plant and ecosystem processes in an interdisciplinary approach. This new approach uses stable isotope fractionation of central metabolites (glucose, pyruvate) to trace carbon partitioning at metabolic branching points. A combination novel technology (δ13CO2 laser spectroscopy, high sensitivity PTR-TOF-MS and isotope NMR spectroscopy) will allow an assessment of carbon partitioning, bridging scales from sub-molecular to whole-plant and ecosystem processes. Based on position-specific 13C-labelling we will quantify real-time sub-molecular carbon investment into VOCs and CO2 at the leaf, plant and whole ecosystem scale, aiming at a mechanistic descriptions of the underlying biochemical pathways coupling anabolic and catabolic processes, particularly the link between secondary compound synthesis and CO2 emission in the light. This approach will permit the development of a novel mechanistic leaf model and its integration into a state-of-the-art ecosystem flux model.


At larger scales, if successful, VOCO2 will open new frontiers for assessing biogenic emissions of greenhouse gases at the ecosystem scale in a first ecosystem positional labelling experiment in the Biosphere 2 enclosure (Arizona, US). Jointly with the novel process-based ecosystem model, VOCO2 will open new frontiers for assessing biogenic emissions of greenhouse gases at the ecosystem scale. This will deliver important information for global change related aspects, as these greenhouse gases can impact atmospheric chemistry, e.g. through aerosol formation,  and enhance global warming. For more information, please refer to the ERC-associated B2WALD-project.


VOCO2 Draft