Isoprene emissions from the grass Arundo donax L. are not linked to photorespiration

C. Nicholas Hewitt, Russell K. Monson, Ray Fall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Leaves of the reed grass (Arundo donax L.) were shown to emit the hydrocarbon isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene). To explore the role of photorespiration in isoprene biogenesis and emission simultaneous measurements were made of isoprene emission rate and leaf photosynthesis rate as photorespiration inhibitors were added through the transpiration stream. These measurements were also made when photorespiration was inhibited by decreasing the O2 concentration in the leaf chamber. Inhibition of photorespiration under these conditions was verified separately. Fluoride, bisulfite, α-hydroxy-2-pyridinemethanesulfonic acid and isonicotinic acid hydrazide inhibited photorespiration 24-89% and isoprene emissions 26-96%. However, they also inhibited photosynthesis 26-78%, demonstrating that they are not specific photorespiration inhibitors. Photorespiration inhibition by more specific inhibitors, aminoacetonitrile (29% inhibition) or 2% O2 concentration (94% inhibition), led to increases in isoprene emission rates. Varying the O2 content in the gas stream demonstrated that isoprene emissions parallel increases or decreases in photosynthesis rates. These results demonstrate that isoprene biosynthesis and emission are independent of photorespiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalPlant Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • Arundo donax leaves
  • grass
  • isoprene emissions
  • photorespiration inhibitors
  • photosynthetic CO assimilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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