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Bertic, M. ; Schroeder, H.* ; Kersten, B.* ; Fladung, M.* ; Orgel, F.* ; Buegger, F. ; Schnitzler, J.-P. ; Ghirardo, A.

European oak chemical diversity - from ecotypes to herbivore resistance.

New Phytol. 232, 818-834 (2021)
Open Access Green: Postprint online available 07/2022
Climate change is increasing insect pressure and forcing plants to adapt. Although chemotypic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity in spatially separated tree populations are known for decades, understanding their importance in herbivory resistance across forests remains challenging. We studied four oak forest stands in Germany using non-target metabolomics, elemental analysis, and chemometrics and mapped the leaf metabolome of herbivore-resistant (T-) and herbivore-susceptible (S-) European oaks (Quercus robur) to Tortrix viridana, a oak pest that causes severe forest defoliation. Among the detected metabolites, we identified reliable metabolic biomarkers to distinguish S- and T-oak trees. Chemotypic differentiation resulted in metabolic shifts of primary and secondary leaf metabolism. Across forests, T-oaks allocate resources towards constitutive chemical defense enriched of polyphenolic compounds, e.g. the flavonoids kaempferol, kaempferol and quercetin glucosides, while S-oaks towards growth-promoting substances such as carbohydrates and amino-acid derivatives. This extensive work across natural forests shows that oaks' resistance and susceptibility to herbivory are linked to growth-defense trade-offs of leaf metabolism. The discovery of biomarkers and the developed predictive model pave the way to understand Quercus robur's susceptibility to herbivore attack and to support forest management, contributing to the preservation of oak forests in Europe.
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Quercus Robur ; Tortrix Viridana ; Adaptation ; Biomarker ; Chemotype ; Eco-metabolomics ; Ecotype ; Flavonoids; Carbon-nutrient Balance; Climate-change; Forest Management; Evolutionary Significance; Flavonoid Biosynthesis; Mass-spectrometry; Condensed Tannins; Functional Roles; Quercus-robur; Plants
ISSN (print) / ISBN 0028-646X
e-ISSN 1469-8137
Journal New Phytologist
Quellenangaben Volume: 232, Issue: 2, Pages: 818-834 Article Number: , Supplement: ,
Publisher Wiley
Publishing Place 111 River St, Hoboken 07030-5774, Nj Usa
Reviewing status Peer reviewed
Grants Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe eV (FNR) in the program 'Waldklimafonds' - Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture