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Volatile and semi-volatile terpenes impact leaf flammability: differences according to the level of terpene identification

Abstract : In flammability assessment, the terpene effect is usually studied using their total or subgroup content, missing, therefore, the information that could be provided by the molecules themselves. In this study, the specific role of terpenes on leaf flammability was sought comparing different levels of terpene identification—total, subgroup (i.e. mono-, sesqui-, and diterpene), and single compound—as well as their interactions with fuel moisture content (FMC) in four species common in Mediterranean Wildland–Urban Interfaces (Pinus halepensis, Cupressocyparis leylandii, Hesperocyparis arizonica, Cupressus sempervirens). Pinus halepensis was the most flammable species (low FMC and higher sesquiterpene content but low terpene diversity) while Cupressocyparis leylandii presented the highest terpene diversity and total terpene content (higher mono- and diterpene content). Flammability was differently affected according to the terpene identification level used in the models. The effects ranged from non-significant for most species studied, using subgroup or total terpene content, to mostly significant, using single compound content. Regarding the former, the lack of significant results could be due to opposite effects of different single compounds within a terpene subgroup. For the latter, terpene molecules driving flammability and their effects (positive or negative) differed among species. A cumulative effect with FMC was also highlighted in some cases but terpenes mostly remained the main flammability drivers regardless of the species. Using the refined terpene level in modelling allowed a better understanding of the compounds’ role on flammability, which is useful in the identification of plant traits linked to flammability.
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Submitted on : Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 5:11:59 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 1, 2022 - 3:48:01 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, February 12, 2022 - 6:20:30 PM

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Anne Ganteaume, Bastien Romero, Catherine Fernandez, Elena Ormeño, Caroline Lecareux. Volatile and semi-volatile terpenes impact leaf flammability: differences according to the level of terpene identification. Chemoecology, Springer Verlag, 2021, 31 (4), pp.259-275. ⟨10.1007/s00049-021-00349-1⟩. ⟨hal-03425908⟩

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