Journal of Chemical Ecology

, 37:1013 | Cite as

Effect of Water Stress and Fungal Inoculation on Monoterpene Emission from an Historical and a New Pine Host of the Mountain Pine Beetle

  • Inka LusebrinkEmail author
  • Maya L. Evenden
  • F. Guillaume Blanchet
  • Janice E. K. Cooke
  • Nadir Erbilgin


The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae, MPB) has killed millions of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) trees in Western Canada, and recent range expansion has resulted in attack of jack pine (Pinus banksiana) in Alberta. Establishment of MPB in the Boreal forest will require use of jack pine under a suite of environmental conditions different from those it typically encounters in its native range. Lodgepole and jack pine seedlings were grown under controlled environment conditions and subjected to either water deficit or well watered conditions and inoculated with Grosmannia clavigera, a MPB fungal associate. Soil water content, photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were monitored over the duration of the six-week study. Monoterpene content of bark and needle tissue was measured at the end of the experiment. β-Phellandrene, the major monoterpene in lodgepole pine, was almost completely lacking in the volatile emission profile of jack pine. The major compound in jack pine was α-pinene. The emission of both compounds was positively correlated with stomatal conductance. 3-Carene was emitted at a high concentration from jack pine seedlings, which is in contrast to monoterpene profiles of jack pine from more southern and eastern parts of its range. Fungal inoculation caused a significant increase in total monoterpene emission in water deficit lodgepole pine seedlings right after its application. By 4 weeks into the experiment, water deficit seedlings of both species released significantly lower levels of total monoterpenes than well watered seedlings. Needle tissue contained lower total monoterpene content than bark. Generally, monoterpene tissue content increased over time independent from any treatment. The results suggest that monoterpenes that play a role in pine-MPB interactions differ between lodgepole and jack pine, and also that they are affected by water availability.

Key Words

Pinus contorta Pinus banksiana VOCs Monoterpenes Tree defense Grosmannia clavigera Mountain pine beetle 



We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript. We acknowledge the lab members of Janice E. K. Cooke as well as Boyd Mori for help potting the seedlings; Miles Dyck for providing us with the TDR equipment; Celia Boone for sharing β-phellandrene; Patrick James for an introduction to R; and Joanne Mann (West Fraser Mills Ltd., Hinton Wood Products), Michael Bendzsak (Saskatchewan Forest Centre), and Glenn Goodwill, Candace Kent and Stewart Haywood-Farmer (PRT) for providing seedlings. We particularly acknowledge Adrianne Rice for providing fungal culture and knowledge, and Jeremiah Bolstad and Andrew Ho for the help during the sample extraction process.

Funding for this research has been provided through grants from the Government of Alberta through Genome Alberta, the Government of British Columbia through Genome BC and Genome Canada in support of the Tria 1 and Tria 2 projects ( of which MLE, JEKC, and NE are co-investigators.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inka Lusebrink
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Maya L. Evenden
    • 1
  • F. Guillaume Blanchet
    • 2
  • Janice E. K. Cooke
    • 1
  • Nadir Erbilgin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Renewable ResourcesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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