Effect of water stress and plant defense stimulation on monoterpene emission from a historical and a new pine host of the mountain pine beetle

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  • The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae, MPB) has killed millions of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) trees in Western Canada and recent range expansion has resulted in attack of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) in Alberta. Establishment of MPB in the Boreal forest will require use of jack pine under a suite of different environmental conditions than it typically encounters in its native range. Lodgepole and jack pine seedlings were grown under controlled environment conditions and subjected to either water deficit or well watered conditions and inoculated with Grosmannia clavigera, a MPB fungal associate. Soil water content, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance and emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were monitored over the duration of the six-week study. Monoterpene content of bark and needle tissue was measured at the end of the experiment. β-Phellandrene, the major monoterpene in lodgepole pine, was almost completely lacking in the volatile emission profile of jack pine. The major compound in jack pine was α-pinene. The emission of both compounds was positively correlated with stomatal conductance. 3-Carene was emitted at a high concentration from jack pine seedlings which is in contrast to monoterpene profiles of jack pine from more southern and eastern parts of its range. Fungal inoculation caused a significant increase in total monoterpene emission in water deficit lodgepole pine seedlings right after its application. By four weeks into the experiment, water deficit seedlings of both species released significantly lower levels of total monoterpenes than well-watered seedlings. Needle tissue contained lower total monoterpene content than bark. Generally, monoterpene tissue content increased over time independent from any treatment. The results suggest that monoterpenes that play a role in pine-MPB interactions differ between lodgepole and jack pine, and also that they are affected by water availability.

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    © 2011 Springer. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.