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Detection of Plant Volatiles after Leaf Wounding and Darkening by Proton Transfer Reaction ‘‘Time-of-Flight’’ Mass Spectrometry (PTR-TOF)

A new study published yesterday, where IONICON PTR-TOFMS was used to detect biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) induced by leaf wounding and darkening, shows the huge potential of PTR-MS for monitoring and quantification of  fast processes in our environment. Leaf wounding reactions where BVOCs are emitted occur very fast and therefore a method is necessary that can capture the BVOC profiles in seconds. A very high time resolution and sensitivity in combination with the high mass resolving power of a time of flight makes the PTR-TOFMS technology an ideal tool for such applications. PTR-MS can detect most of the common VOCs in real-time, in very low concentrations and without complicated sample preparation as our online mass spectrometers directly inject the sample gas and provide results without delay.

The study is an outcome of the Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnership and Pathways (IAPP) project 218065 ‘‘PTR-TOF’’ funded by theEuropean Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 – People), where IONICON is one of the partners.

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F. Brilli, T. M. Ruuskanen, R. Schnitzhofer, M. Müller, M. Breitenlechner, V. Bittner, G. Wohlfahrt, F. Loreto, A. Hansel: Detection of Plant Volatiles after Leaf Wounding and Darkening by Proton Transfer Reaction ‘‘Time-of-Flight’’ Mass Spectrometry (PTR-TOF), PLoS ONE, 6(5) (2011), e20419.

Read the abstract:

“Proton transfer reaction-time of flight (PTR-TOF) mass spectrometry was used to improve detection of biogenic volatiles organic compounds (BVOCs) induced by leaf wounding and darkening. PTR-TOF measurements unambiguously captured the kinetic of the large emissions of green leaf volatiles (GLVs) and acetaldehyde after wounding and darkening. GLVs emission correlated with the extent of wounding, thus confirming to be an excellent indicator of mechanical damage.Transient emissions of methanol, C5 compounds and isoprene from plant species that do not emit isoprene constitutively were also detected after wounding. In the strong isoprene-emitter Populus alba, light-dependent isoprene emission wassustained and even enhanced for hours after photosynthesis inhibition due to leaf cutting. Thus isoprene emission can uncouple from photosynthesis and may occur even after cutting leaves or branches, e.g., by agricultural practices or because of abiotic and biotic stresses. This observation may have important implications for assessments of isoprene sources and budget in the atmosphere, and consequences for tropospheric chemistry.”

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