Effects of drought and recovery on soil volatile organic compound fluxes in an experimental rainforest

Giovanni Pugliese, Johannes Ingrisch, Laura K. Meredith, Eva Y. Pfannerstill, Thomas Klüpfel, Kathiravan Meeran, Joseph Byron, Gemma Purser, Juliana Gil-Loaiza, Joost van Haren, Katerina Dontsova, Jürgen Kreuzwieser, S. Nemiah Ladd, Christiane Werner, Jonathan Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Drought can affect the capacity of soils to emit and consume biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Here we show the impact of prolonged drought followed by rewetting and recovery on soil VOC fluxes in an experimental rainforest. Under wet conditions the rainforest soil acts as a net VOC sink, in particular for isoprenoids, carbonyls and alcohols. The sink capacity progressively decreases during drought, and at soil moistures below ~19%, the soil becomes a source of several VOCs. Position specific 13C-pyruvate labeling experiments reveal that soil microbes are responsible for the emissions and that the VOC production is higher during drought. Soil rewetting induces a rapid and short abiotic emission peak of carbonyl compounds, and a slow and long biotic emission peak of sulfur-containing compounds. Results show that, the extended drought periods predicted for tropical rainforest regions will strongly affect soil VOC fluxes thereby impacting atmospheric chemistry and climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5064
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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