Dendrobiochemistry, a missing link to further understand carbon allocation during growth and decline of trees
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The combination of dendrochronology with biochemical features such as nonstructural and structural carbohydrate dynamics may lead to more reliable views of how tree growth correlates with changes in natural environments.
Carbon is fixed in forests worldwide, where large pools are stored in the woody tissues of trees. After assimilation via photosynthesis, its products are transported through the phloem to support metabolism, storage, and the construction of new tissues. The metabolic dynamics of the assimilated carbon of trees have been studied by plant biochemistry and physiology approaches, mostly in young trees. On the other hand, dendrochronology rarely employs these approaches. It has been used mostly for growth quantification related to mature trees. Therefore, both fields of tree science could be merged to bring new inferences about how the internal plant metabolic processes correlate with tree growth in their inhabiting environments. Here we review the current knowledge about (1) nonstructural and structural carbohydrates of trees, as studied by plant biochemistry and physiology; and (2) tree-ring analysis as a proxy for tree growth studied by dendrochronology. We further discuss the current evidence available in the literature and the perspectives of merging these plant science fields here named dendrobiochemistry. We expect that this compilation can provide additional insights into some unresolved issues related to tree biochemistry, physiology, and dendrochronology and consequently improve current understanding of terrestrial carbon cycle.
KeywordsDendrochronology Monosaccharides Wood Nonstructural carbohydrates Starch Sucrose Cell wall Climate
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