Photosynthesis and more at the Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy
Presenta: Francesco Loreto
The National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences
The Department of Biology, Agriculture and Food Sciences of the National Research Council of Italy covers a whole spectrum of biological interactions potentially leading to sustainable development and circular economy. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emitted by terrestrial and aquatic photosynthetic organisms are among those compounds that are now investigated for their usefulness. VOC allow plants communicating within them and with other (useful or noxious) organisms. One VOC, isoprene, is emitted by leaves of around 20% of the plant species and by many algae, represents more than 30% of total biogenic VOC emissions worldwide, and has no clear communication role. Around 90% of the carbon going into isoprene synthesis is directly shunted from photosynthesis intermediates.
Alternative sources of carbon are activated under abiotic (environmental, e.g. drought, heath, pollution) stress, which sustain isoprene emission when photosynthesis is inhibited, suggesting an important role for isoprene in stress protection. An overview about possible mechanisms at the basis of isoprene function in protecting the photosynthetic apparatus from stresses will be given.
Recent results showing that plants are able to orchestrate daily their antioxidant defenses (including isoprene) under stress conditions will be presented. Finally, ideas about how the pathway producing isoprene has evolved, and how important isoprene emission is for photosynthesis protection in response to climate change and associated environmental pressures will be illustrated.
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