Genotypic variation for condensed tannin production in trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides, Salicaceae) under elevated CO2 and in high- and low-fertility soil

TitleGenotypic variation for condensed tannin production in trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides, Salicaceae) under elevated CO2 and in high- and low-fertility soil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsMansfield JL, Curtis PS, Zak DR, Pregitzer KS
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume86
Issue8
Pagination1154-1159
KeywordsVASCULAR PLANTS
Abstract

The carbon/nutrient balance hypothesis suggests that leaf carbon to nitrogen ratios influence the synthesis of secondary compounds such as condensed tannins. We studied the effects of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on carbon to nitrogen ratios and tannin production. Six genotypes of Populus tremuloides were grown under elevated and ambient CO2 partial pressure and high- and low-fertility soil in field open-top chambers in northern lower Michigan, USA. During the second year of exposure, leaves were harvested three times (June, August, and September) and analyzed for condensed tannin concentration. The carbon/nutrient balance hypothesis was supported overall, with significantly greater leaf tannin concentration at high CO2 and low soil fertility compared to ambient CO2 and high soil fertility. However, some genotypes increased tannin concentration at elevated compared to ambient CO2, while others showed no CO2 response. Performance of lepidopteran leaf miner (Phyllonorycter tremuloidiella) larvae feeding on these plants varied across genotypes, CO2, and fertility treatments. These results suggest that with rising atmospheric CO2, plant secondary compound production may vary within species. This could have consequences for plant-herbivore and plant-microbe interactions and for the evolutionary reponse of this species to global climate change.