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Seasonal variation in the monoterpenes in needles of Picea abies (L.) Karst.

Summary

This investigation was conducted to obtain information about the fluctuations in composition and amount of needle monoterpenes during the development of spruce needles. Studies conducted with two Norway spruce clones clearly revealed the existence of fluctuations. In juvenile needles, the amounts of the oxygenated terpenes increase constantly with age during the first 2 months of needle growth. The hydrocarbon terpenes dominate within the first weeks, some of them even showing a very distinct first maximum within the first 3 weeks after bud burst. All terpenes, including the oxygenated ones, have a maximum in June/July, which favours the hypothesis of a substitution of the hydrocarbons later on. There are significant changes even in mature needles of Norway spruce. The terpene level of 1-year-old needles of the clonal trees increased from spring to early summer and then dropped again towards winter. In addition, fluctuations in mature needles were shown for a set of ten wild trees. Needles of the same age class, which emerged in 1986, were sampled 4 times from 1986 to 1988. The needle terpene concentrations of the 1 -year-old needles were considerably lower in spring at the time of bud burst than in autumn. The terpene level of older needles thus seems to be influenced by biosynthetic and catabolic activities.

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Schönwitz, R., Lohwasser, K., Kloos, M. et al. Seasonal variation in the monoterpenes in needles of Picea abies (L.) Karst.. Trees 4, 34–40 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00226238

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Key words

  • Seasonal fluctuation
  • Needle
  • Picea abies
  • (Mono) terpene