STSM4 Report Ken Yokawa

Volatiles emitted from plant roots in response to UV-B irradiation

Ken Yokawa visited Prof. Stefano Mancuso in Florence (16 days in October 2013)

It is reported that plants produce several volatile compounds spreading into the atmosphere in response to stress conditions. This is essential for long-distance plant communication [Dicke M and Baldwin IT. Trends Plant Sci 15(3):167-75 (2010)]. Under the soil, roots release and are also sensitive to many volatiles. However, it is not well known how these volatiles affect root growth. The purpose of this stay is to use PTR-TOFMS (Proton-transfer-reaction TOF mass spectrometry) equipment to detect the volatiles emitted from UV-B treated-plant roots which act as a signaling factor among plant individuals. The results will give a clue to understand the root-to-root communication in an ecological context. The measurements were conducted at LINV –DiSPAA, Department of Agri-Food and Environmental Science, University of Florence.

As a result, several signals were detected as the compounds released from UV-B irradiated maize roots. Out of the 300 compounds measured by PTR-TOFMS, seven volatiles significantly increased. The production of some volatiles from roots might be assumed as a UV-B specific response by comparing with control experiments. If maize roots emit the compound by their irradiation with UV-B, it can be expected that this will give us very important clues for our understanding of the effect of UV-B on below-ground ecosystems. I am planning some additional experiments to examine the effect of these UV-B-induced volatile compounds on root growth under physiological conditions. I would like to prepare a manuscript to report the results obtained during this STSM upon completion of the analysis.

Lastly, I am thankful for Dr. Camilla Pandolfi and Prof. Stefano Mancuso to help with measurements of TOF and their great advice.